A recent investigation has uncovered that a dairy farm that supplies milk for M&S is keeping young cows in small, solitary pens for up to 6 months.
The farm in dorset enslaves around 1,000 calves in tiny cages despite animal welfare laws banning the solitary confinement of calves beyond 8 weeks old.
Footage taken by the welfare group Animal Equality UK shows some of the larger calves barely being able to take a step forward or back.
They can be seen struggling to get into plastic hutches, designed to shelter them in poor weather, resulting in large open sores on their backs.
If humans are isolated and alone for 6 months, they’ll go insane. Not to mention the fact that they’re kept in cages so small they can hardly turn around. Translate that to dogs or cats and authorities would classify it as animal abuse. But hey, we like drinking from their tits so it’s completely fine right?
Dr Toni Shephard, Executive Director of Animal Equality UK, said: ‘Seeing row after row of baby calves alone in tiny pens — when they should naturally still be with their mothers — is truly heartbreaking.
‘But realising that many of these are actually older female calves who, contrary to UK animal welfare law, have been confined like this for many months is shocking.’
She added: ‘UK animal welfare law recognises how vitally important exercise and social interaction is for calves and restricts solitary housing to just eight weeks, yet on this farm Animal Equality found female calves as old as six months cramped and suffering in individual pens.
‘We are calling on M&S to break ties with this supplier immediately. We urge all supermarkets to implement a zero-tolerance policy when farms break animal welfare laws.’
An M&S spokesperson said: ‘We were very disappointed to see the images; any breach of our standards is completely unacceptable.
‘Our experts have been on site and worked with the farm to take action and address the situation. We work hard to uphold the highest welfare standards which is recognised by animal welfare charities.’