Reading Time: < 1 minute

Jay Wilde,
the Derbyshire farmer who famously turned 56 ‘dairy cows’ over to a sanctuary
last year, now has a vegetable farm and much more in the works.

Wilde and
his wife Katja, now vegans, plan to add a vegan cooking school, restaurant,
shop, and maybe even accommodation to his inherited estate with the help of a
crowdfunding campaign.

Split
opinion

Responses
to Wilde’s move are mixed.

He’s unsure
he’d receive the blessing of his late father, and other farmers – including his
brother-in-law – openly disagree with his choice.

While he’s
also received significant praise for his actions – through letters of gratitude,
and support on social media – Wilde argues that he was simply fulfilling a
moral obligation, calling animal exploitation ‘indefensible if you think
animals are anything more than meat’.

‘Years of turmoil’

Wilde said: “What I’ve done, I couldn’t see an alternative. I don’t feel like a hero.”

While Wilde
and his wife worked hard to be kind to their cows, he said dairy farming
brought him ‘years of turmoil’ adding that when he knew he was ‘going to betray
them’ he ‘really couldn’t look them in the eye’.

‘Trapped’ no more

As someone
who struggled in school, he felt forced into animal agriculture, an industry
which he says many people are ‘trapped in’ for similar reasons to his own.

He said: “I
did the shovelling but I didn’t buy into the ethos.”

Wilde was
fortunate enough to break free of his obligations and take steps toward nonviolent
farming – and now advocates for a compassionate approach to encouraging others
down the same path, saying in many cases farmers just ‘don’t know what else to
do’.

Emily Court

Emily Court

Emily Court is a writer and content creator published in Plant Based News, Raise Vegan, Living Vegan and The Financial Diet. A self-described "recovering vegan hothead," she is now a pragmatic member of Vancouver's vibrant and growing plant-powered community. Hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia, she holds a BA in Spanish and certificate in Intercultural Communication from Dalhousie University, where her thesis focused on topics of cultural and gender-based discrimination. She aims to apply a privilege-conscious...