On 23rd November 2023, the vegan organisation Viva! announced it had reported a series of animal abuses at a dairy farm in Wales. During an undercover investigation, Viva! visited the Tafarn Y Bugail dairy farm, which supplied First Milk at the time of the investigations, on several occasions between February and June 2023, obtaining more than 240 hours of footage.
In a statement, Viva! said the investigation revealed “multiple instances of excessive violence, with cows being hit, on average, 75 times per milking. In a particularly harrowing attack, which lasted over seven minutes, one individual cow was hit more than 55 times. Further footage shows the cows being pushed, shoved and kicked in the udder – with two also having their tails twisted.” In August 2023, Viva! reported all findings to Ceredigion County Council Trading Standards and that Red Tractor, as this farm was one of the Red Tractor-approved farms which are supposed to be better in animal welfare than the average farm.
Viva! founder and director Juliet Gellatley was among those who went undercover at Tafarn Y Bugail. She said, “This farm is just the latest instalment of cruelty in the endless saga of pain that the dairy industry inflicts on cows. In one particularly harrowing clip, I watched a poor cow get beaten 55 times, causing unimaginable distress. Unable to escape, she had to stand and endure the beating inflicted upon her simply for existing. The images of her suffering will live in my mind forever.”
Eat Fair, a UK organisation that advocates for a plant-based food system, said to FoodBev, “The footage captured at Tafarn Y Bugail is shocking but sadly all too common in the British dairy industry. Practices such as cow and calf separation, repeated impregnation and disposing of males are routine and legal. What Viva has captured is not a bad apple but a typical large dairy farm.”
First Milk, a dairy company which owns brands such as Pembrokeshire Cheddar, confirmed to Metro.co.uk that after Viva!’s findings, it has now cut off all ties with the farm.