U.K.’s first slaughter-free dairy farm gets home

Ahimsa Dairy will be moving to Manton, where it will produce 23,000 litres of milk annually. When cows’ milk producing days are over, they spend their days in the sunshine.  |  Chris McCullough photo

A dairy farm in the United Kingdom where older cows can spend their retirement has moved to a permanent home.

The farm called Ahimsa Dairy was previously on rented land in Leicestershire but it is moving to property it recently bought in Rutland.

Cows on the Ahimsa farm are not slaughtered; instead, they are allowed to retire. All the male calves are put to work rather than being sold for meat.

Ahimsa Dairy operates on traditional methods, milking the cows by hand and allowing offspring to graze with the cows every day.

The Ahimsa Dairy Foundation was founded in 2011 and originally produced milk in partnership with an organic farm in Kent.

The organization was inspired by the farm at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertfordshire, U.K., which is run by the Hare Krishna movement, after it was donated by Beatles musician George Harrison.

Once the cows’ milk-producing days ended, they would be sent to the Ahimsa farm in Leicestershire.

Now, the 30 cows at Ahimsa farm have a new home in Manton where the milk production will be based.

Nicola Pazdzierska from Ahimsa said many people were willing to pay more for their milk given the status of the farm.

“We charge a lot more for the product but part of that money is going into our cows’ pension fund, and at the same time, we don’t think milk should be a cheap product,” she said.

“In London a pint of craft beer can sell for £6.20 (C$10.30), so we don’t think it’s unsustainable for our milk to sell for £4.50 (C$7.50) a litre at a farmers’ market, or £3.50 (C$5.80) for members. We want to make the model replicable so other farms can follow.”

The farm plans to produce its own cheese and create a visitor centre.

It owns 48 acres near the village of Wing and rents another 24 acres.

The Ahimsa Dairy Foundation is a not-for-profit company and produces 23,000 of litres of milk a year.

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