Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Open Farm Day at Bhaktivedanta Manor

Cow Protection and Ox Working Farm

at Bhaktivedanta Manor in Hertfordshire

Hilfield Lane (off A41),

Aldenham, Herts (satnav postcode: WD25 8DT


Sunday 13 June 2010

Bhaktivedanta Manor operates the only cow protection project in the country.

Come along for the day and revisit an age gone by when oxen worked the land and cows were hand-milked. Join one of the tours of the of the farming community running throughout the day, and experience what it means to be self-sufficient in the industrial age. Includes light vegetarian refreshments.

For more details contact Sita Rama on 07723 354 527

Thursday, 4 March 2010


Battery farm for cows: 8,000 animals to be housed in milk factory

A factory farm housing more than 8,000 'battery cows' will be built in the English countryside. Under the controversial plans, Britain's largest ever dairy herd will be kept in industrial-scale sheds with little access to pasture or sunshine.

The cows will be milked around the clock to produce 430,000 pints each day - while their slurry will be recycled to generate power for the national grid.

The complex is the first 'supersize' cattle factory planned for Britain and follows growing concerns about the spread of 'zero-grazing' farming. Justin Kerswell, of animal rights group Viva, said: 'This is factory farming - and it blows out of the water the pastoral image the dairy industry likes to portray.' The £40million farm will be built near Nocton, Lincolnshire, later this year. It will have eight hangars for 8,100 cattle and two 24-hour milking parlours.
The animals, fed on fodder, will spend most of their days inside where they will stand and sleep on sand rather than pasture.

And they will be milked three times a day, while a typical dairy cow is milked just twice.
Waste will be removed each day and fed into an anaerobic generator to produce enough electricity for more than 2,000 homes. Robert Howard, a farmer behind the Nocton Dairies project, said the farm will be the largest in Western Europe and help the dairy industry compete against imports. 'Campaigners think cows should be like in the Anchor butter advert, with 50 to 100 cows dancing in a field,' he said. 'It is a lovely idea, but not the reality.' His colleague Peter Wiles said the cows would have access to open pasture when they were not producing milk. The sheds would have open sides, he added. 'We will have a visitor centre to show the public around,' he said. 'We are aiming to have exceptional standards.'

The company's website played down the industrial scale of the farm, saying: 'The layout is designed so the cows get plenty of exercise and fresh air. 'A vet will be on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to support the trained dairy staff in their daily inspections of every single cow to check they are healthy and happy.' But animal campaigners are fighting the plans. Linda Wardale, of the group Vegan Lincs, said the conditions would be akin to ' battery farming for cows'. 'Cows should be in the fields, nibbling on grass, but here they're going to keep them in sheds,' she added.

And Patrick Holden, an organic dairy farmer and director of the Soil Association, said the farm was a wake-up call. 'Will consumers be happy to know that they are drinking the milk from one of 8,100 cows that will never get out to grass?' he asked. 'There is also a greater risk of disease - and the spread of new diseases, as we saw with BSE.'
In addition, the move away from family farming would make Britain more vulnerable to rises in energy prices and trade crises, he added. The Nocton Dairies' farmers hope to have planning permission by the end of next month and milk the first cow by September.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1254467/Battery-farm-cows-8-000-animals-housed-milk-factory.html#ixzz0hEs0rQNr

Sunday, 10 January 2010

News from The Soil Association

The Soil Association recently announced that it's decided to end the culling of male dairy calves in organic farming.

The Soil Association is by far the largest organic certification body in the UK and has lead the way in raising agricultural standards in the sector. It's standards go beyond those stipulated by the government.

Although this is at a very early stage (it will be five years before they are implemented), it represents a major cultural change.

Generally, dairy cows are bred to produce as much milk as possible and so the male calves tend to be too scrawny to be suitable for being reared for their meat. This leaves no option than for the male calves to be culled.

The new measure will force farmers to rethink what they do with their male cows.

Traditionally, male cows were used to plough the fields, however, they became redundant in this function with the introduction of tractors.

Link to corresponding Soil Association press release: http://www.soilassociation.org/News/NewsItem/tabid/91/smid/463/ArticleID/256/reftab/57/t/Organic-sector-moves-to-end-culling-of-male-dairy-calves/Default.aspx
(Text PAMHO:18861328)

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Melissa Kidd

Here is a series of video clips in which the Soil Association’s Information Officer, Melissa Kidd, explains various key concepts related to the organic food industry:


Friday, 4 December 2009

The Wave

Join ‘The Wave’ - the UK’s biggest ever demonstration in support of
action on climate change. London, 5 Dec 2009

On Saturday 5 December 2009, ahead of the crucial UN climate summit in Copenhagen, tens of thousands of people from all walks of life will march through the streets of London to demonstrate their support for a safe climate future for all.

Part of a global series of public actions, The Wave will call on world leaders to take urgent action to secure a fair international deal to stop global warming exceeding the danger threshold of 2 degrees C.

The Wave - which is not just a huge march but a whole day of exciting campaign activities - is organised by the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, will show mass support by people from all backgrounds for a better, low carbon future for the UK and the world.

Join The Wave - the UK’s biggest ever demonstration in support of action on climate change.

More details can be found on www.stopclimatechaos.org/the-wave

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Amil's Story

Episode 5: A day at Wenda's Farm

The sixth in a series of video blogs, depicting life on an Ahimsa (cruelty-free) farm

Monday, 16 November 2009

Cows and the Earth

A Story of Kinder Dairy Farming

By Ranchor Prime

Ranchor Prime and Chrissie Hynde (of the Pretenders) launched his new book at the Southbank Centre in London, where they were joined for a photocall by two of Bhaktivedanta Manor's oxen, Sukadeva and Sahadeva. The book has since received national media attention.

• Chrissie Hynde supports unique experiment to run a dairy farm
entirely without slaughter or fossil fuels
• New book, published in hardback on October 28, reveals the story
behind first cruelty-free farm based in UK and reveals why milk is
cheaper than water
• Preface by Chrissie Hynde and foreword by Patrick Holden, Director
of Soil Association

Cows and the Earth tells the provocative story of the first and only farm in the UK to run entirely without slaughter or fossil fuels, and the only farm to produce cruelty-free milk.

It’s a unique and real-life experiment to demonstrate what happens when dairy cows and their offspring are allowed to live productive lives instead of being sacrificed in the name of cheap milk.

It all started in 1973 when George Harrison donated a Hertfordshire manor house and twenty acres of land to a young community of Krishna people. The first thing they did was to buy a cow.

Thirty-six years later, Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford, is a carbon-free working farm, which houses 50 cows and oxen in low-tech English oak farm buildings. In these thirty-six years, no animal has ever been killed and Hindu principles of cow protection are neatly transplanted into the modern western world to run a dairy farm entirely without slaughter or fossil fuels.

The standard workings of a conventional dairy farm in the UK mean that cows are pumped full of hormones and kept continuously pregnant. They are usually slaughtered after four or five years, their calves are removed at birth and male calves are usually slaughtered at birth. In short, the lives of cows are cheap and disposable, which is why a pint of milk is cheaper than half a litre of bottled water. In fact, the average person in the UK spends just £1.80 a week on milk, nature’s most nutritious drink.

At Bhaktivedanta Manor, cows are protected by customary Hindu practices meaning no animal is slaughtered. Calves suckle from their mothers, cows are milked by hand and trained bulls plough the land. It is Britain’s first farm to run entirely without animal slaughter, cruelty and fossil fuels.

Thirty five thousand litres of cruelty-free milk are produced every year from this unique farm, which cares for cows and the earth and so embodies the sustainable and ethical principles necessary for long-term peace and prosperity.

Published alongside the Ahimsa campaign, which aims to set new humane standards for milk production and endorsed by the Soil Association and Compassion in World Farming, Cows and the Earth offers a convincing argument for why cow protection embodies the principles of sustainable and ethical living so necessary for the future peace and prosperity of our planet.

Ranchor Prime worked as a teacher, artist and community leader in yoga communities before becoming an environmental project manager for the World Wide Fund for Nature and advisor to the Alliance of Religions and Conservation. He has published ten books on Hindu spirituality and ecology.

A short 2 minute video outlines the key principles of the book can be found at http://www.fitzroviapress.co.uk

Cows and the Earth, by Ranchor Prime, with 32 pages of colour photos by Astrid Schulz, ISBN 978-0-9561846-0-3