When: Wednesday, June 26th, 5–7 pm
Where: The London Eye, Lambeth, London SE1 7PB
On Wednesday 26 June, vegan campaigning charity Viva! is protesting against the systematic abuse of dairy cows across three global companies, in solidarity with the Fair Oaks Farm investigation. The protest will be held in front of the London Eye, the popular landmark sponsored by Coca-Cola, owner of the Fairlife dairy company.
Earlier this month, Fair Oaks Farm (Indiana, USA) made international headlines when undercover footage exposed shocking animal cruelty towards dairy cows and calves. The two videos, released by Animal Recovery Mission, showed young dairy calves being beaten, kicked, having their heads stomped into the ground and dying from heat exposure and malnutrition. The footage also showed distressed, sick and injured mother cows. Fair Oaks Farm supplies milk to Coca-Cola’s Fairlife brand and has previously been described as the “Disneyland of agricultural tourism.”
In response to the shocking undercover investigation, United Kingdom-based animal welfare charity Viva! are holding a protest outside the London Eye, a massive tourist attraction sponsored by Coca-Cola. Vegan activists are hosting the demonstration to remind people that cruelty is integral to dairy farming – regardless of whether the farm is in the US or the UK.
Last year, Viva! Campaigns investigated more than a dozen dairy farms that supply big brands like Cadbury, Lurpak, Cravendale and Anchor. The undercover footage showed instances of severe animal abuse including sick and dying cows paralyzed on the ground, emaciated cows living in filthy conditions, cows with their legs shackled together to prevent them from collapsing, and calves kept in solitary confinement.
Campaigners will be screening footage from the Fair Oaks investigation alongside the footage obtained by Viva! Campaigns to highlight the gross mistreatment of dairy cows by global dairy companies.
Juliet Gellatley, Viva! founder and director, explains the reasoning behind the protest:
“The investigation of Fair Oaks Farm has brought global attention to the horrific abuse that dairy cows endure. Many people have been horrified by the undercover investigation, so now we must remind the public that this abuse is inherent to the worldwide dairy industry. No matter whether a dairy farm is free-range, zero-grazing, or organic, all dairy cows are locked into a perpetual cycle of forced pregnancy and have their new-born calves ripped away from them. The male calves are seen as a useless by-product and so are killed for meat or simply shot in the head and discarded like trash. The female calves have the same fate as their mothers: continual pregnancy until they collapse from exhaustion.
These barbaric practices are deeply embedded in the dairy industry and are completely unnecessary. All of this suffering is just so that humans can consume cow’s milk. We will be making a stand for dairy cows everywhere, calling on the biggest companies in the world to wake up to the realities of dairy farming. Coca-Cola has now dropped Fair Oaks Farm and committed to an audit of Fairlife suppliers. This shows that we, as consumers, have the power to influence global corporations and urge them to move in a vegan direction. Veganism is the future; consumers will no longer be part of the systematic abuse of animals. It’s high time that big brands such as Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Arla realise that and use their power to end animal cruelty.”
More information about the event is available here.
Featured image: Still wet from birth, this calf will be added to the rows of other calves and crates and raised in this confinement. This separation of calves from their mothers is an inherent part of the dairy industry. Image credit Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals.