Brits are ditching dairy after a new BBC documentary exposed the dark side of the dairy industry

Author: Rachel Smith

Read Time:   |  15th February 2022

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#GoVegan is trending on Twitter as Brits pledge to ditch dairy after the BBC exposed the dairy industry in a new Panorama documentary, A Cow's Life: The True Cost of Milk?


The hashtag #GoVegan is trending on Twitter after the BBC exposed the dark side of the dairy industry in a new Panorama documentary, A Cow’s Life: The True Cost of Milk?

The hard-hitting documentary, which aired on BBC One on Valentine’s Day, focused on numerous distressing instances of animal abuse on a ‘high-welfare’, Red Tractor-approved dairy farm in Wales.

Shocking undercover footage from Animal Equality revealed workers kicking and punching an injured cow, with another video showing a worker forcefully pulling on the cow’s tail.

In the documentary, reporter Daniel Foggo also spoke to farmers and vets about the lives most dairy herds can expect to lead.

They revealed that many cows in the dairy industry suffer from lameness due to poor nutrition and being forced to stand on hard floors for long periods.

Farm vet Roger Blowey told the programme: “It would be unusual to find any herd without lameness”, with as many as 30% of dairy cows suffering from the condition.

The vets also explained that calves are separated from their mothers shortly after birth, which causes them great emotional distress.

The True Cost of Milk went on to explore the immense pressure cows face as the amount of milk they are forced to produce is now 40% higher than it was 30 years ago.


#GoVegan trends on Twitter

Shocked by the distressing footage in the documentary, people are taking to social media to declare their intention to go dairy-free.

Finding the footage hard to watch, one commenter wrote: “I had to turn #acowslife off. It was too distressing. What is wrong with people that they can be so cruel to defenceless animals? How can humans be so cold and brutal. #Panorama”.

Another added: “Feel like a lot of people who watched #Panorama tonight might finally understand why vegans are vegan.”

One commenter pointed out that “Paying more for cows milk will not stop the cruelty. If you can kick a cow repeatedly while it is recumbent and whack a cow in the face with a shovel an extra penny a pint won’t change you. Buying dairy pays for the cruelty #GoVegan #Panorama”.

Weighing in with his thoughts on the BBC documentary, Downton Abbey actor Peter Egan tweeted: “Just watched #ACowsLife the true cost of milk on #panorama anyone who wants to understand why the dairy industry is disgusting, inhumane & careless should watch it.”

Backlash from farmers

Unsurprisingly, farmers have slammed the BBC documentary, branding it ‘sensationalist’ and an inaccurate portrayal of Britain’s dairy industry.

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers (RABDF) has responded to the claims made in the programme, saying it was ‘disappointed’ with the BBC due to the show’s ‘sensationalism’.

According to the charity’s managing director, Matt Knight the UK dairy sector “operated to some of the highest welfare standards in the world”.

“We are sad the BBC has chosen to highlight one farm where inexcusable abuse was witnessed, as this is not representative of our industry,” he added.

Despite their attempts to hide the truth about what happens behind closed doors in the dairy industry by promoting the bucolic ideal of cows frolicking freely in fields, many more people are now aware of the horrors facing cows every day thanks to the documentary.

A Cow’s Life: The True Cost of Milk? is available to watch now on BBC iPlayer

Want to delve deeper and get the true facts about the dairy industry?

Find out what really happens to male calves in the dairy industry here.

Written by

Rachel Smith

Having launched the brand's digital presence in 2015, Rachel shares her love for animals and the planet through her work as Vegan Food & Living’s Digital Editor. As a passionate vegan for over eight years, Rachel loves creating delicious vegan dessert recipes for her award-winning blog, Rawberry Fields. Rachel's recipes and photography have been featured in numerous international print and digital publications including the Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Thrive, and Buzzfeed. You can follow Rachel at @rawberryfields

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