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  • Writer's picturePaul Andrews

Brits Believe All Cows Live Free Range!

Millions of Brits wrongly believe that all cows live free range - when 20 per cent actually spend their entire lives in sheds. A poll of 2,000 adults found only three in 10 are aware of the zero-grazing practice - where the dairy cow is never allowed to roam free, being kept in a shed for its entire life. But campaigners claim this affects up to a fifth of UK dairy cows.

After being made aware of the farming technique, 69 per cent of consumers opposed it on ethical grounds. And 49 per cent said they would be unlikely to buy any dairy products that were a result of this indoor process.

While 56 per cent went as far as to say it should be banned completely – as 87 per cent believe cows deserve a nice life.

The research was commissioned by Viva!, whose spokesperson said: “Ignorance about the UK dairy industry is widespread and profound. It’s not accidental that consumers are ignorant of zero grazing and other cruelties in the dairy industry. It is purposely camouflaged by constant images of a non-existent rural idyll."

“Zero grazing is sweeping across the world and already one-in-five UK dairy cows are victims, despite overwhelming scientific and public opposition.”

Busting Milk Myths

The research also found just 41 per cent of adults were aware cows have to be made pregnant and give birth to a calf before they can give milk.

And only 27 per cent knew all calves are grabbed from their mothers at birth and either killed or locked away in isolation.

Once aware of the facts, 24 per cent claimed they were prepared to change their habits to become more vegan – with 25-34-year-olds most likely to do so (45 per cent).

The thought of animals being poorly treated (58 per cent) and the environmental impacts of the meat and dairy industry (56 per cent) were the main drivers of this change.

Of those willing to change their habits, 53 per cent would try plant milks instead of dairy milk, and 48 per cent would attempt to reduce their consumption of cheese.

Although both of these top the list of things considered hardest to cut out of their diet, alongside chicken and butter, according to the research carried out via OnePoll.

In fact, almost one in 10 (nine per cent) consider themselves a ‘flexidairian’ – a term coined by Viva! to describe someone that wants to cut out dairy but finds it hard to.

The spokesperson added: “There is a clear lack of knowledge when it comes to how cows are treated, as it is often glossed over. But it’s encouraging to see people are willing to change their diets and cut back on dairy foods as a result of the inhumane processes used in farming.”

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