Investigation Into UK Calf Trade Reveals Calves Kicked, Thrown, Starved, and Killed for Dairy

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Animal Justice Project’s ground-breaking marketing campaign, “Expired,” exposing the calf trade inside the UK, has grown from energy to energy since its inception final yr. Launching with a robust undercover investigation at a beef megafarm – the primary time a beef farm has ever been filmed on – its latest investigation shines a light-weight on the destiny of bull calves. It has resulted in Müller instructing all of its farmers to stop working with Oaklands instantly, Sainsbury’s to begin an immediate investigation, and Oaklands itself to cease trading following the exposé of flagrant cruelty violations and calf slaughter.

Video Courtesy of Animal Justice Project

The surprising footage obtained by Animal Justice Project investigators over 5 months at Oaklands Livestock Centre in Shropshire, and a slaughterhouse killing bull calves, has reached 1000’s of individuals in nationwide media. It has revealed for the primary time the destiny of bull calves born on dairy farms.

Calf Shooting Bans Could Lead to an Increase in Calf Slaughter

Major supermarkets and milk processors within the UK have now banned the capturing of day-old bull calves on dairy farms. Certification scheme, Red Tractor, have additionally applied modifications, which implies not less than 95% of milk produced within the UK could have come from dairies banning the “routine euthanasia” of calves on-farm by 2023.

Despite this, and an elevated integration of the dairy and beef industries, as highlighted in Animal Justice Project’s Expired marketing campaign, the well-acknowledged downside of so-called “surplus” bull calves born on dairy farms stays, with many crossbred dairy calves being unsuitable for rearing. These children are “mongrels” or “grass rats” based on some farmers.

blood on ground

Source: Animal Justice Project

A staggering 65,000 calves underneath a month previous had been killed in UK slaughterhouses final yr. Whilst grocery store and business bans to finish capturing might appease dairy customers, Animal Justice Project reveals that insurance policies typically don’t cowl the “onward trade” of calves. This means bull calves are ending up at markets and, many, within the slaughterhouse. Last available figures present that over half of calves arrive on the slaughterhouse from sellers, like Oaklands, who pick the animals up from dairy farms and marts nationwide.

The banning of calf capturing might even improve the variety of calves ending up in abattoirs as a result of farmers having no selection however to ship them off-farm. The actual resolution, Animal Justice Project advocates, is an end to dairy farming.

The Investigation

Animal Justice Project filmed over a number of months at Oaklands, a calf seller working on the identical website as certainly one of two Blade Farming assortment facilities. Blade Farming is an notorious built-in beef provide chain calf rearing firm linking Arla and Sainsburys, in collaboration with beef processing firm, ABP.


Source: Animal Justice Project

From Oaklands, calves are both reared or taken to slaughter at G & GB Hewitt abattoir in Chester. Animal Justice Project filmed Oaklands’ director, Derek Whittall, leaving tiny calves as younger as 9 days previous within the lairage in a single day. An obvious breach in slaughter laws. Calves at Hewitt had been filmed being killed as much as nearly a minute after gorgeous. The authorities’s personal slaughterhouse watchdog, Food Standards Agency, recommends not more than 15 seconds to make sure animals don’t start to recuperate consciousness earlier than they die of blood loss.


Source: Animal Justice Project

Oaklands was filmed shopping for calves at markets or “marts” and selecting calves up from dairy farms supplying Sainsbury’s through milk processor Müller. Also 2020 British Farming Awards “Dairy Innovator of the Year” Silver winner farm in Cheshire.

calves in fences

Source: Animal Justice Project

At the yard, the place calves had been taken again to, investigators documented a tradition of abuse amongst employees in direction of tiny, unweaned calves who had been thrown down trailer and truck ramps, lifted by their tails, kicked, kneed, punched, hit with sticks, dragged by their ears, jacket whipped, slapped, pushed, slapped, and had gates rammed on their delicate legs. Animal Justice Project veterinarian, Molly Vasanthakumar acknowledged, upon viewing the footage, “these incidents are highly distressing to watch.”

calf being pulled

Source: Animal Justice Project

Calves at Oaklands weren’t solely subjected to abuse, but additionally starved of meals for over 21 hours. No water was supplied for unweaned calves at any time throughout filming. This isn’t just a breach in laws, but additionally ethically unsound. Calves would naturally be fed by their mothers repeatedly all through the day. Molly Vasanthakumar states “leaving young animals with insufficient feed and water not only breaches legislation, but impacts the welfare of these calves.” Calves circled in pens crying out. Some appeared to not know learn how to use feeders and had been subjected to tough dealing with by a employee who shouted and swore on the animals. One was hurled throughout a pen and kicked within the head.

Supermarket Policies

Animal Justice Project approached all main supermarkets and milk processors to find out whether or not their insurance policies forestall calves from being despatched to the slaughterhouse and located many don’t cowl “onward trade” of calves from dairy farms. Seven of the supermarkets – Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, ASDA, Morrisons, Marks & Spencers, Tesco and Co-Op – responded. Four of the supermarkets – Co-Op, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda seem to permit the onward commerce of bull calves from dairies, in addition to Red Tractor and all three milk producers contacted – Arla, Müller, Saputo (which additionally nonetheless continues to permit bull calf capturing) and Meadow Foods.

calf biting bars

Source: Animal Justice Project

Sainsbury’s acknowledged to Animal Justice Project that farmers “mustn’t knowingly sell calves to buyers for slaughter.” And but throughout filming calves had been being picked up from Sainsbury’s – supplying farms by a seller subjecting calves to abuse and who commonly visits the slaughterhouse. Müller instructed Animal Justice Project that it doesn’t prohibit “the sale of bull calves by dairy farmers” who provide them and Tesco overtly admits that their bull calf coverage doesn’t cowl “onward trade” from dairies. Grosvenor Farms – a mega-dairy supplying Tesco through Müller – was documented additionally having calves killed on the identical slaughterhouse.

transport truck

Source: Animal Justice Project

Arla, with round 2,500 dairy farmers and utilized by each Asda and Morrisons for 100% of their milk didn’t reply. Their “360 Standards” bull calf coverage nonetheless means the destiny of calves over eight weeks previous hangs within the stability. Asda admits that after 8 weeks, “dairy bulls can either be marketed.”

What You Can Do

Animal Justice Project’s surprising and distinctive investigation calls into query the compliance of welfare legal guidelines that farmers are required to observe. It reveals the failings in public-appeasing insurance policies got down to supposedly safeguard bull calves, and it exhibits the unhappy actuality for 1000’s of calves annually, labelled as “surplus.” From dairy farm to the slaughterhouse. Ultimately, the answer to the bull calf problem is a a lot less complicated one within the palms of the buyer. By selecting plant-based milk and non-dairy merchandise within the grocery store, we are actually saving calves from a horrible fate, and the tragic cycle of exploitation that’s so intrinsic inside the dairy industry, will finish. Dairy Still Kills.

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