Viva! Campaigns has investigated a large dairy farm in Wales and sadly the scenes were appalling, with some of the worst cases of physical violence we have ever recorded. At the time of filming, the farm, Tafarn Y Bugail, supplied one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the UK, which has long-standing partnerships with major retailers and milk brands.

And the abuse we found is heartbreaking.

Read on to discover the truth about dairy and how you can help support the biggest Day of Action Against Dairy in history. 

WARNING: distressing content and imagery

What We Found

Tafarn Y Bugail is a large 500-cow dairy unit where animals are treated as commodities. Situated in a beautiful part of the country, the shocking scenes that take place there could not be more different to the idyll of the countryside.

Dead animals are left outside to rot, while live calves are ripped from their mothers and isolated in hutches in the bitterly cold weather. Conditions in the maternity pens are filthy and chaotic, with feral cats sleeping in the straw beds and devouring afterbirth. The fetid stench is horrendous.

Hidden camera footage revealed one dead calf had been unceremoniusly dragged from his pen, thrown into the bucket of a JCB and piled on top of two live calves! On another visit, six more dead calves were found in the yard. A fox was even seen eating a dead calf inside the calving shed, while three mother cows were forced to witness.

When I filmed here, a newborn calf was suckling from his mother. Nervous and protective, she warned me to back away, which of course I did. My heart broke for her, knowing her baby would be stolen just hours later. My sadness intensified when we visited the hutches and the calves desperately tried to suckle my fingers, pushing against the edges of their cages. It was heart-wrenching to feel the desperation of these vulnerable and innocent creatures.

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A newborn calf desperately suckling my fingers, not understanding why she has been taken from her mum

Forced Impregnation

In order to produce milk, a cow must be made pregnant and deliver a calf. Humans then steal the milk meant for the calves. This happens every year during the cow’s exhausting life.

In one case, hidden cameras showed a calf being ripped from her mother just three hours after birth. Two farm workers and a child used a rope to brutally pull the calf out, causing agony for the mother. Following the birth, a worker kicked the cow in the spine to force her to stand.

During this visit to the farm, hidden cameras filmed five calves born, all callously removed from their mothers within 12 hours. Two did not suckle even once from their mother.

Repeatedly Beaten

Hidden cameras also captured a worker mercilessly hitting a cow, harder and harder, a sickening 55 times. The gentle mother, who simply didn’t know what was wanted of her, was pushed around and her tail twisted. The worker became angry very quickly, as he hit the cow with increasing force to make her stand in position for milking. The cow had nowhere to escape and it was absolutely harrowing to witness her pain.

A second cow was kicked in her already swollen udders – in a final act of indignity. The violence delivered to these poor creatures was the worst I have seen; with blows landing on their legs, backs and to the sides of their faces.

In another instance, a farm worker used a knife to burst a huge abscess on a cow’s rump during milking, releasing a stream of pus onto the floor for over three minutes.

We saw 17 cows in the parlour wearing hobbles on their back legs. These chains are to stop cows ‘doing the splits’ when they have suffered damage from birthing or falling, usually on dirty wet floors. These sad and ill animals could barely walk. But they were still being milked.

Even writing this now, it’s hard not to be moved to tears of rage and frustration at this system built on cruelty. Looking into the eyes of these beautiful animals and just wanting to help is overwhelming. These poor souls have done nothing wrong and are confined in these prisons, surrounded by corpses and their own waste.

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More Images


Take Action

Support our Campaign

Please donate to our campaign and you’ll be helping fund justice for these animals! Your donations are crucial and help fund:

  • animal rights solicitors: to build a case against the abuse at Tafarn Y Bugail to take to the authorities and media
  • investigations: as long as cruelty exists, so will our undercover investigations. Your donations make it possible to investigate claims of animal abuse across the country, install hidden cameras, return to sites and gather footage
  • shining a light on the truth of dairy: we must make the public aware of the lies the dairy industry feeds them. Veganism has come a long way, but we are still swimming against the tide, and we can only educate with your help and support
  • materials for our Day of Action: essential for our high-profile anti-dairy campaign

Yes, I’ll Donate

Day of Action

Join us on 27 January 2024. We’re organising the biggest Day of Action Against Dairy in history where we will air our hard-hitting undercover investigations that expose the truth about dairy farming. We’ll be calling on the general public to stand up against animal cruelty and choose vegan.

Help us cover every single city, town and village across the country by organising an event on your local high street. The animals need you to speak up for them! Together we can make this the biggest protest against dairy the industry has ever faced.

I’ll be there

Please, please give what you can so we can continue to expose the vile practice of UK dairy farming and get the message out there. Any money you can donate – no matter how little – will help us in our fight against this appalling abuse of mothers and their babies.

With your help we can fight dairy consumption and its inherent cruelty.

Yours for the animals

Juliet Signature

Juliet Gellatley

Founder & Director, Viva!

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