The dairy farm has denied any animal welfare issues.
New footage has recently emerged showing dairy cows being kept in tiny pens at a facility which supplies to well-known supermarkets in the United Kingdom, according to recent reports. The images were released by Animal Equality UK of the Grange Dairy in East Chaldon, Dorset and depict calves being kept side by side in rows of small individual pens. These conditions are in contrast to the UK law which states that calves must be kept in groups instead of individually when they have reached eight weeks of age. Animal Equality UK has since urged Marks & Spencer to break their professional relationship with the dairy supplier after they stated that some of the animals shown in the cramped individual pens were as old as six months.
Despite these claims from the investigation, the farm would not comment on the age of the calves that they were keeping secluded from one another, as well as insisting that their latest audits from Trading Standards showed that there were no concerns expressed about the welfare of their animals. Supermarket chain M&S has since claimed that they have traveled to the dairy farm run by JF Cobb & Sons, which has 1,000 female Holstein calves, in order to conduct their own investigation. The executive director of Animal Equality UK, Dr. Toni Shephard, said,
“Seeing row after row of baby calves alone in tiny pens, when they should naturally still be with their mothers, is truly heartbreaking. But realising that many of these are actually older female calves who, contrary to UK animal welfare law, have been confined like this for many months is shocking.”
A spokesman for M&S said,
“We were very disappointed to see the images, any breach of our standards is completely unacceptable. Our experts have been on site and worked with the farm to take action and address the situation. We work hard to uphold the highest welfare standards which is recognised by animal welfare charities.”
Nick Cobb, a JF Cobb & Sons partner commented, “As a family farming business, we care passionately about our livestock and all our energy is focused on keeping our cattle comfortable and healthy. We work closely with vets and industry welfare experts to establish the best approach to looking after our animals and our health and welfare performance is industry-leading. Our animals are under close veterinary supervision and there is no suggestion that the health and welfare of our animals have been compromised. We have been in liaison with Marks & Spencer and our milk buyer over this matter and last week spot audits were undertaken, including from Trading Standards. All of these audits were passed successfully, with no concerns over animal welfare.”