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A dairy farmer broke down in tears as he admitted that some mother cows cry for days when their calves are taken away.

David Finlay, from Galloway in Scotland, made the comments to journalist Samantha Poling for the BBC program The Dark Side of Dairy that will air tonight as part of the Disclosure series. 

The program follows Finlay a dairy farmer. As a result of seeing the trauma when mothers and calves are split apart, Finlay now leaves them together until he sends the calves to slaughter aged 18 months – suggesting the show may betaking a welfarist angle.

In a video you can watch here, Poling asks the farmer what it’s like when a calf is removed from his mother.

‘You just get on with it’

Finlay replies: “As a farmer, it’s just something you do, you just get on with it. It’s part of the job and you need to take the calf away because you need the milk.

“The calf at that point knows no better other than its instinct tells them something is a bit funny, a bit odd. The mother, well it varied. Sometimes they just walk over to the silage feed and started eating and you thought they hadn’t even noticed. Then there’s others that would bawl for days. And that was probably the distressing side of it.”

The journalist says: “That affected you – that affects you now, talking about it.”

For several moments, the farmer tries to talk, but is too emotional. He finally waves his arm and calls: “Cut.”

Dark side of dairy

Describing the one-off show that will air tonight the BBC said: “According to the broadcaster: “Investigative journalist Samantha Poling takes a journey into the controversial world of live animal exports.

“She uncovers some shocking truths about what happens to the male calves the Scottish dairy industry has no use for.

“And she goes on the trail of a live cattle shipment across Europe to see for herself the long journeys they endure.”

?You can find the trailer for the program here

The Dark Side of Dairy will be available to watch on BBC iplayer after it screens on tonight at 8.30pm (BST).

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.