It was by stumbling across an article from the BBC that we learned about Ahimsa Dairy Farm, the UK’s first ‘slaughter-free’ dairy farm where all cows are kept and put to work on the farm rather than being shipped off to death row when they are no longer needed. The farm hopes to provide a model for other farms to copy. Dairy cows are usually culled when they get older and cannot produce as much milk, and their male calves are normally killed or sold for meat. At the Ahimsa dairy in Rutland, oxen are put to work and cows can “retire”.
They have recently bought 48 acres of land in the lovely village of Wing in the UK and they are also renting a further 24 acres there with an option to buy in 18 months.
Courtesy of the BBC, here are some facts highlighting the differences between Ahimsa Dairy and normal dairy farming:
- Dairy cows are normally slaughtered after about five years when they stop producing as much milk, but Ahimsa cows go into retirement
- Male calves are normally killed shortly after birth or sold for meat, but the Ahimsa dairy puts them to work on the farm
- Newborn calves are normally separated from their mothers, but they stay together as grazing partners at the Ahimsa dairy
- Cows are usually artificially inseminated, but Ahimsa cows are impregnated by bulls
- Ahimsa cows are milked by hand rather than by machine
- Ahimsa cows can choose between sheltering in a barn or grazing freely on organic pasture