Documentary: Disclosure - The Dark Side of Dairy
September 10th 2018: To supporters of ACAL, Animal Concern, SOSF and SAVS,
Another very important TV programme for you all to watch tonight or on the BBC Scotland iPlayer in the next few days. If you have Sky TV you can watch it from anywhere in the UK by choosing BBC Scotland from the long list of BBC “regions” at the end of the channel listing. These start at channel 952. If any of you subscribe to Sky in England, Wales or N.I. could you let me know what channel number BBC1 Scotland and BBC2 Scotland broadcast on?
The programme is Disclosure - The Dark Side of Dairy, it's on BBC One Scotland and is due for broadcast 8:30pm tonight. You can also watch it live or later on this link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/categories/scotland/featured
I've only seen trailers for the programme, but I think it covers something I wrote to you about some months ago. It covers two very much linked issues, the dairy industry and live export.
As you probably know a cow must be made pregnant to produce milk and if the farmer wants to make money from that milk s/he has to stop the calves drinking that milk. Most of the female calves are kept or sold to become milk factories and replace their worn-out mothers. Male calves from dairy cows don't grow to produce much beef, so they are either shot shortly after being born or used to produce veal.
In the 1980s and 90s groups like ours exposed the cruelty of veal farming. Calves were kept indoors in small enclosures on filthy slatted floors and fed reconstituted powdered milk and no roughage. This regime of little exercise and no roughage in their diet creates anaemic animals which produce almost white flesh which consumers, especially in mainland Europe, pay a lot of money for.
When the cruelty of veal crates became public the UK market for veal collapsed. Some farmers switched to “Rosy Veal” which allowed calves more room to move around and some roughage in their diet. They were still slaughtered young to produce flesh of a light pink colour rather than white. However that market did not really catch on and most calves are taken from their mother, crammed into live transport vehicles and sent off to mainland Europe (many go through Ireland and then by ferry to Spain) where they are put into veal farms. I must apologise as I don't know as much about this as I should and cannot tell you what system is used in Spain to turn baby cows into veal. Perhaps we will learn tonight.
The BBC team have followed the calves from Scottish farms to their destination. Not only should you see this but, most importantly, politicians throughout the UK should see it.
There's something you may not see in tonight's programme. I live at the bottom of a hill topped by a dairy farm. When the very young calves are taken away from their mothers the cows emit long, deep mooing calls to try and get a reply from their calves and bring them back to them. This can last for two or three days and is a haunting, mournful sound. Earlier this year, just after the calves were shipped off, a herd of cows broke out of their field and made their way down the hill, across the main road and through the housing estate where I live. They were stopped by the fence beside my house which borders a railway line. Some of my neighbours were angry that their pristine, sterile gardens had been trampled but, at least with some of them, that anger dissipated when I explained to them why the cows had escaped from the farm.
ADDITIONAL INFO: I've just watched a short item on the BBC lunchtime news and it said that it is only Scotland which is involved in this trade and that the calves are “fattened” in Spain and that some are then exported to North Africa to be killed in conditions which would be illegal in the UK.
At the end of this e-mail there is a brief e-mail which those of you in the UK should immediately customise and send to your politicians (MPs, Assembly Members, MSPs) whose details you can find here: https://www.writetothem.com/
You must include your name, address and post code in your e-mail. If you don't get a chance to do this before this evening remember the programme will be on iPlayer for at least a week so just adapt your e-mail and send it as soon as you can.
In addition, please also contact the following politicians (non-UK supporters can also write to them):
Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom Government. firstname.lastname@example.org
Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy for the Scottish Government Fergus.Ewing.email@example.com and copy to him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Roseanna Cunnigham Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform at the Scottish Government: Roseanna.Cunningham.MSP@parliament.scot and copy to her at email@example.com
Mairi Gougeon MSP, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment at the Scottish Government: Mairi.Gougeon.firstname.lastname@example.org and copy to her at email@example.com
George Eustice MP, Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs at the Westminster (UK) Government: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lesley Griffiths AM, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs at the Welsh Government. email@example.com
Please note I have given you the direct e-mails for all the politicians above as I believe they seldom see e-mails sent to their general Ministerial addresses. For the Scottish Government I've also asked you to copy your e-mail to the generic Ministerial e-mail address.
I urge you to watch a television programme going out on BBC1 Scotland tonight, September 10th, at 8.30pm. If you have Sky TV you can watch it anywhere in the UK or you can watch it live or later on the BBC website at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/categories/scotland/featured. Although the programme focuses on the export of calves from Scotland, live export goes on throughout the U.K..
The programme is Disclosure - The Dark Side of Dairy and follows the journey of male calves born to dairy cows. Male calves are of little financial value to dairy farmers and are sold and exported all the way to Spain where they may be reared for veal or fattened for export to Africa where they are subjected to slaughter under conditions which would be totally illegal here in the UK.
There are alternatives to this cruel trade. These include producing Rosy Veal on or near the farms where the calves are bred. The animals are still killed at an early age, but they are spared the suffering of extremely lengthy road and ferry journeys, the stricter regimes of intensive veal farming they may be subjected to abroad or cruel, perhaps fully sentient, slaughter in Africa or the Middle East.
I am a supporter of Animal Concern Advice Line, a charity which wants a ban on the live export of animals. Please watch Disclosure tonight or later this week on the BBC iPlayer. I know you are a busy person, but I urge you to spare just half an hour to witness a cruel trade which you have the power to stop. I would be grateful if, after you view this programme, you would get back to me and let me know whether or not you support a ban on the live export of animals from Scotland and the rest of the UK..