The Ethical Dairy, the UK’s largest cow with calf dairy farm, is to host a Farm Tour specifically designed for vegans and people following plant based diets. The one off event has been developed to create a ‘safe space’ where visitors with concerns about farming can ask questions directly to the farm team.
It’s part of a programme of events and workshops created by the farm and cheese maker in response to requests from members of the public for more information and hands-on experiences. Other events will include cheese making workshops, a morning milking viewing and a tour of the farm.
Wilma Finlay of The Ethical Dairy said:
“This event is about breaking down barriers and recognising that there are many different reasons why people make the dietary choices they do, and as producers of food we are respectful of the choices our customers make. For example, we have many regular customers who are themselves following plant-based diets but buy dairy produce for their children or partner.
“The idea behind these events is basically to share our experience, explain why we do things the way we do and, where possible, to share our skills. We have welcomed visitors onto our farm for many years, in fact it was feedback from those Cream o’ Galloway visitors that encouraged us to try cow with calf farming in the first place. So we are very much looking forward to running these new in-depth farm events, explaining our approach and creating a safe space where people can ask questions about our farm.”
Rainton Farm, home of The Ethical Dairy brand, committed to permanently following cow with calf farming last autumn after successfully concluding a three year pilot. While conventional dairy farming practice separates cows and calves within a few hours of birth, the Rainton model sees male and female dairy calves remain with their mothers for 5-6 months before being weaned. The innovative approach to dairy farming, which is claimed to deliver environmental and animal health benefits, has attracted widespread interest, so much so that the Scottish Government recently announced funding for research into their farming system by Scotland’s rural college, SRUC.
David Finlay, who pioneered Rainton’s cow with calf farming system commented:
“Food production and land use has never been more political or contentious. For as long as the media and big commercial interests continue to whip up conflict and opposition between people who hold different points of view, agreeing a pathway to sustainability and net zero production will be impossible. It’s time everyone started listening to each other.
“We all have a little piece of the solution to climate change, we all have lots we can learn from each other, and we all have a vested interest in the long term viability of our planet. It’s time we cut the crap, stopped the propaganda and starting working together on practical solutions to feeding our population in a climate conscious way.”
The Farm Tour for Vegans takes place on Thursday 21st May at 11am at Rainton Farm in Dumfries & Galloway. Visitors will go on a tour of the farm led personally by David, and will have the opportunity to meet the cows and calves. It costs £30 per person and includes a vegan lunch. Information and booking for all events at The Ethical Dairy can be found on www.theethicaldairy.co.uk .