A close up of Miriam Margolyes Miriam Margolyes said she recently learned about what really goes on in the dairy industry - Media Credit: WENN Rights Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Miriam Margolyes Is Calling For An End To Dairy Farming

Can dairy farming become a thing of the past?


3 Minutes Read

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.

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The Author

Amy Buxton

Amy enjoys reporting on vegan news and sustainability initiatives. She has a degree in English literature and language and is raising a next-gen vegan daughter.

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Dave "Hedger" Hogan
1 month ago

The industry is consumer based, if people do not buy it, farmers will not produce it. Surely, the bet plan is to educate people, not constrict production of dairy milk and make it into an expensive luxury item. The big conglomerates will welcome this as it will get rid of their smaller competitors.

1 month ago

I agree with you that in the sense that the consumer has immense power over these industries by way of what we buy. It’s simply supply and demand.
But, nevertheless, I believe it has to be a multilayered action. Government, the big conglomerates, the small holders, and of course those who support and fund them, the consumer.
They all have to be encouraged to end these cruel, unnecessary, unsustainable practices.
Any action, especially that of well known people in the public eye such as Miriam, is a positive step towards a more compassionate world,.
The general public will read this article and perhaps investigate further into the reality behind animal agriculture, and then make kinder choices as far as the products they buy.
(Animal products always involve animal abuse, if you’re against animal abuse don’t buy animal products).

David Hamilton
David Hamilton
1 month ago

If you eere hungry without any food i am sure you would eat meat how can we work towards zero carbon without any other countries to the same standards get a life

Plant Based News Admin
Plant Based News Admin
29 days ago
Reply to  David Hamilton

Thank you for your comment. Most people consuming animal products are not in survival situations, as you are depicting.
We can work towards zero carbon by cutting out animal products.

1 month ago

Are you absolutely stupid , dairy cattle need to be milked or they will suffer mastitis and possibly die , maybe you should go in your garden and grow some veg if that is what you want , but you should keep your nose out of things you know nothing about , typical uneducated know it all

Plant Based News Admin
Plant Based News Admin
29 days ago
Reply to  Phil

Thanks for your kind comment Phil. “Dairy cattle” produce milk for their calves- just as human mothers produce milk for their infants.
We have bred them to produce far more milk than that is natural. And the only reason they are getting pregnant and producing milk *for their baby* is because we have forcefully impregnated them.
Almost seems like if we stopped breeding and impregnating them, they wouldn’t “need to be milked”.

1 month ago

You have no idea about things that go on around you, I have a sulfite/sulphate and nut allergies (anaphylaxis)..so I can only eat things that havnt been tampered with. Like Organic whole milk , full fat butters cream ok ok im careful about how much i eat . But our grand parents and there grandparents were far more healthy than this generation and there there food came straight from the dairy farms farm shops . Seasonal veg from out grounds. not manmade or imported.
I can’t eat/drink plant based, soya , almond, coconut ect milks, marg or plant based foods, nothing otherwise I would die, plant based foods are broken down, in to compound by
sulfuric acids and made into compounded. Before being used to make most of these foods, So people are drinking chemical drinks. which over time will cause people far worse elments. Unless you make your own milk ect or check to see how your foods are produced if they have been pressed and squeezed lemon juice, it will be chemical after chemical it something has been taken out ask your self what its been replaced with. We need dairy farms, i need dairy farms. Otherwise I would be left with nothing to eat or drink. i wouldn’t be able to make my food i eat to exist on, like quiche, flat breads cheese biscuits cake , biscuits ect I need organic whole milk full fat butter, full fat cheese , full fat yougharts ect..

Last edited 1 month ago by Jac
Plant Based News Admin
Plant Based News Admin
29 days ago
Reply to  Jac

Sulfite free foods include almost all organic fruit and veg, sweet potato, grains including brown rice, oats, couscous, pastas, rices and quinoa, organic sunbutter, frozen fruit, maple syrup, you could make homemade oat milk, etc.
“Our grandparents ate it and lived a long life so i can and it’s healthy” is a fallacious argument, many people have lived into their 90s while smoking a pack of cigarettes a day most of their lives- does that mean we should too?
The meat and dairy we eat is literally manmade, as the animals we exploit grow unnaturally large, and produce unnaturally high amounts of milk, while growing unnaturally fast.
“So people are drinking chemical drinks” the air you breathe is literally chemicals. But, assuming you intend that with a negative connotation around “chemical”, soy beans + water are not unhealthy by any means, as you are implying. Nor are most other plant foods for the majority of the population.
Plant-based diets are healthy and suitable for a large majority of the population, not to mention necessary for our planet.

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