Reading Time: < 1 minute Mothers watch on as workers 'brutally' handle the calves (Photo: Animal Equality)
Reading Time: < 1 minute

Workers have been recorded force feeding, throwing, and hitting newborn calves at RSPCA assured Coombe Farm in Somerset – which supplies dairy to UK supermarket Waitrose.


The footage was captured during an undercover investigation by internation animal protection organization Animal Equality, and is available for viewing online.

Despite the farm’s RSPCA assurance – which is a certification given to those that are meant to be ‘humane’ – the video depicts violence toward the young animals.


The ‘brutal’ footage shows calves having feeding tubes shoved down their throats, a worker standing on one calf, another being dragged by their legs, and animals being deprived of water for up to 29 hours on what the organization says was ‘one of the hottest days of the year’.

The footage also depicts various struggles associated with separating dairy cows from their newborn calves.


In a statement sent to Plant Based News, Animal Equality’s UK Director Dr. Toni Shephard said: “Consumers will be shocked to see such cruel treatment of tiny newborn calves, with their heartbroken mothers forced to look on helplessly.

“That these harrowing scenes are from the much romanticised organic farm producing dairy products for Waitrose will seem almost beyond belief.”

‘Welfare concerns’

Coombe Farm told the Daily Mail: “We ensure that any welfare issues raised are dealt with immediately. We initiated a request to the Soil Association [which certifies the farm as organic] and RSPCA Assured to visit the farm in question and carried out our own investigation.

“We have addressed any issues of non-compliance for the Soil Association and RSPCA Assured, and have implemented further training for farm staff.”

A spokesperson for Waitrose added: “This does not meet the high standards we set for a farm supplying us. We suspended the farm and launched a full investigation.”

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 and culturally sensitive approach to her work in all fields.