After sending undercover investigators to a Kent farm that supplies major UK companies, the vegan campaigning organisation Viva! has claimed that Home Farm is mistreating cows and that there have been “multiple incidents of animal cruelty.” This dairy farm supplies cow’s milk to Freshways, a milk supplier to Costa Coffee, Iceland, Caffe Nero, Nisa, Budgens, Londis and British Airways. None of these companies has so far condemned the cruelty shown in the investigator’s recordings.
Footage recorded by Viva! showed workers slapping and kicking cows at Home Farm, which exploits over 500 cows. The vegan group claimed the farm was “faeces-soaked”, and cows had to have their legs shackled to prevent them from sliding in the filthy conditions. Following their own investigations, standards body Red Tractor gave the farm a positive review, and Home Farm has denied the allegations. However, as in the famous case of Hogwood farm from which an award-winning documentary was made, Red Tractor does not seem to have a problem with giving a clean bill of health to horrible farms where animal cruelty is not uncommon.
Lex Rigby, head of investigations at Viva!, said the following: “As a supplier to major food and drink retailers, Home Farm is approved by Red Tractor, a so-called world-leading food chain assurance scheme. A Red Tractor seal of approval suggests animals are cared for to a higher standard than basic government regulations. However, they saw the footage from Home Farm and denied any wrongdoing. These images of severely emaciated cows, bleeding wounds and improperly disposed of carcasses clearly speak for themselves and prove otherwise…Home Farm is a typical UK dairy farm, it’s not an anomaly. Dairy cows are treated this exact way day in, day out, all over the nation.”
Viva! also said the animals were found to be malnourished, struggling to walk and lame, which can be a sign of extensive standing on hard floors and poor nutrition. Dead calves were found discarded in wheelie bins and one adult cow was found “shot in the head and dumped outdoors”. They added, “this is a blatant violation not only of the cow herself but also of UK regulations that dictate that farmers cannot leave the dead bodies of their animals out where scavengers can find them.” Viva! is organising a National Day of Action on 28th January and 11th March 2023 to pressure the coffee company chain Costa to ditch this farm.