Animal Equality UK is working with Harry Potter actor Miriam Margoyles to campaign for a UK food system shake-up that doesn’t include dairy farming.
Margolyes is the face of the ‘remake our food system’ campaign. It calls on the UK government to incentivize and support a move away from dairy to arable farming.
The actor came on board after being shown real images and footage of a Madox dairy farm in Wales. The cruelty and abuse of cows portrayed left her unable to sit back.
“I’ve been on a journey of discovery,” she said in an Animal Equality statement. “I don’t mince my words, so I will tell you the truth: it broke my heart.”
“But I am also thankful that this has been brought to my attention. Everyone deserves to know the truth. If we’re successful, more people will choose plant-based options and they’ll drink less cows’ milk, which means fewer cows will be separated and killed.”
She added: “I really believe we can make a difference. The world is harsh. Let’s make it kinder.”
Animal Equality has investigated more than 140 global dairy farms, including four in the UK. Regular, organic, and “higher welfare” farms were all visited to gain a true overview of the industry.
The recent Milked documentary sought to similarly educate consumers as to the horrors of the New Zealand dairy sector.
Margolyes talks about empathy with dairy cows
The award-winning actor has admitted to not giving much thought previously to how milk is produced. But once the process of forced cow impregnation, followed by separation from their calf and milk acquisition was explained, she viewed the process differently.
“I never thought about the fact that in order to produce milk, cows have to have babies. It seems so obvious when you say it but what it means for animals, it hadn’t occurred to me,” she said.
She went on to address the grief of mother cows, noting that she knows what it is to have a strong bond with a parent and that animals clearly share that.
What Animal Equality wants from the dairy farming sector
Animal Equality is calling for a transition away from dairy farming, toward arable crop production. Said crops should be suitable for use in dairy alternatives to encourage a shift away from cow’s milk.
Margolyes, alongside Animal Equality, is asking the UK government to put financial incentives in place. These will encourage farmers to adapt their focus away from dairy farming.
A private program looking to do the same in the US was launched in earnest last year by alternative dairy giant Miyoko’s Creamery. Dairy Farm Transition seeks to support one farm, to start with, to move from animal to arable farming, before helping others to follow suit.