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Dairy cows were punched, kicked, and ‘sexually abused’ at a British farm linked to the National Farmers Union’s Deputy President Guy Smith – an undercover investigation has found.
Hidden cameras were placed in Wigboro Wick farm, Essex, as part of the Dismantle Dairy campaign created by animal-rights organization Surge.
The farm is linked to Smith Farms (Clacton) Limited, where Smith is listed as a main shareholder and Director – according to Companies House documents.
Several undercover visits to the from, from May 10 – June 21 this year, found ‘dead calves left to rot outside in the open in advanced states of decomposition’ as well as ‘numerous incidences of kicking, punching, hitting with plastic sticks, excessive tail twisting, shouting and swearing’.
“Some of the most disturbing footage shows one worker touching two cows in intimate areas on two different occasions,” investigators said. “The worker appears to be moving his hand up and down in a way that would suggest masturbation.”
‘Filled with violence’
In a statement sent to Plant Based News, Ed Winters, Co-director of Surge, said: “The purpose of our investigation was to show that even the dairy farms owned by the most highly respected and powerful individuals within the industry are filled with violence and abuse.
“However, even though the abuse of dairy cows occurs within the practices that are legal, as well as illegal, we were shocked by the brutality that we documented on the farm of Guy Smith [who] travels and gives talks about animal welfare, whilst on his farm, animals are being touched in intimate areas in a non-legal manner, punched, forcibly impregnated, trapped in solitary confinement pens and verbally abused.
“It is time that we recognize that abuse is systematic across the dairy industry and the only way to end the violence is to live a vegan lifestyle.”
‘I am not responsible’
Smith told the Independent: “I wish to make clear that I am not responsible in any way for the dairy side of the business and derive no financial benefit from it. In particular, I have no responsibility for the recruitment or training of staff and nor do I have any input into the manner in which that side of the business is run.
“Animal welfare should be regarded as a priority and I have no doubt that those responsible for the dairy side of the business will immediately take all necessary steps so as to ensure the highest animal welfare standards are maintained going forwards.”
The hidden camera footage has been sent to the RSPCA, who acknowledged receipt of the evidence on November 18.
Wigboro Wick farm was one of eight UK dairy farms featured in the Dismantle Dairy campaign
*This article was updated on November 30 to include information regarding the RSPCA obtaining the hidden camera footage