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VIDEO: Dorset farm attacked for rearing cows in tiny pens

Cow in pen

12:05pm 28th March 2017
(Updated 1:55pm 28th March 2017)

A Dorset farm's been accused of flouting animal welfare laws.

Footage by Animal Equality UK and given to Wessex FM claims to show calves over 8 weeks old being caged inside solitary pens at Grange Dairy in East Chaldon, near Winfrith, owned by J F Cobb and Sons. 

Under UK law calves must be moved to group housing at eight-weeks.

Toni Shepard, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK, said: "Seeing row after row of baby calves alone in tiny pens — when they should naturally still be with their mothers — is truly heartbreaking. But realising that many of these are actually older female calves who, contrary to UK animal welfare law, have been confined like this for many months is shocking.”

“UK animal welfare law recognises how vitally important exercise and social interaction is for calves and restricts solitary housing to just eight weeks, yet on this farm Animal Equality found female calves as old as six months cramped and suffering in individual pens."

 

According to the J F Cobb and Sons website, the dairy farm supplies milk to Marks & Spencer on a premium contract that rewards higher animal welfare.

A spokesperson for M&S said: "We were very disappointed to see the images; any breach of our standards is completely unacceptable. Our experts have been on site and worked with the farm to take action and address the situation. We work hard to uphold the highest welfare standards which is recognised by animal welfare charities."

Wessex FM approached J F and Cobb for a statement.

Nick Cobb, Partner, said: “As a family farming business, we care passionately about our livestock and all our energy is focused on keeping our cattle comfortable and healthy. We work closely with vets and industry welfare experts to establish the best approach to looking after our animals and our health and welfare performance is industry-leading."

"Our animals are under close veterinary supervision and there is no suggestion that the health and welfare of our animals has been compromised. We have been in liaison with Marks & Spencer and our milk buyer over this matter and last week spot audits were undertaken, including from Trading Standards. All of these audits were passed successfully, with no concerns over animal welfare.”

 

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