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Goats’ milk is promoted as the angelic answer to those who want a healthier, more animal- friendly alternative to cows’ milk. Juliet Gellatley (Viva! and Revive Nutrition founder & director), delves into this rapidly growing industry to unearth the truth

“It's a goat's life! Waited on hand and foot, with 'room service' delivering the perfect menu of food. In these pampered conditions… our goats enjoy all of life's home comforts…” So purrs the website of Delamere Dairy,

one of the UK’s largest suppliers of goats’ milk, cheese and yogurts. A major Viva! investigation, running at

intervals from winter last year to May 2012, tears the heart out of this claim and reveals the sickening life of goats on two of Britain’s biggest dairy farms, one of which supplies Delamere Dairy. Upper Enson Farm, in Stafford, has some 1,800 animals. Our investigator found it strewn with dead kids and a skip overflowing with corpses. We were told by a worker that the

problem was probably ‘worms’ and then later by the manager that: “We've got more losses than I'd like, mainly from cryptosporidia”. Many of the kids had diarrhoea and he explained that the disease is spread via the excreta of the ill animals. There was no shortage of excreta on this farm! It is a typical intensive

dairy unit of large, open ended sheds, some packed with hundreds of nanny goats, surrounded by concrete yards and fields. Here, at least, the goats are allowed to graze at certain times of the year. Large numbers of nanny goats were waiting to enter the

16 viva!life


nostalgically named ‘milking parlour’ – a huge, rotary milking construction looking like some futuristic nightmare, where goats with pendulous, oversized udders were milked by automated, pulsing, often filthy, tubes to the sound of inappropriately cheerful pop music.

The kids are not alright Another farm I visited is Bromes Farm, near Taunton, Somerset, with about 1,200 animals. It was heart breaking to film the beautiful, innocent reasons for the nanny goats’ milk – their baby kids. As with all

mammals, goats only produce milk because they give birth. They have a five month pregnancy and are well known for being vigilant, loving and protective mothers. However, on all UK dairy goat farms, the babies, male or female, are taken away almost immediately after birth. I watched the babies, not even a day old,

being placed in a pen with artificial teats protruding from the wall. They were already trying to play, tottering, falling, struggling to stand up, falling again, and were sucking at each other’s noses and ears because their mothers were nowhere to be found. We were informed that the male kids

were, until recently, ‘disposed of’ by swinging them by their legs to smash their heads against a metal post. When we filmed, however, a market had been found and they were being sold for meat to a Bristol-based company.

Billy goats gruff The male kids at Upper Enson Farm were also being sold for meat, which meant they had to suffer the pain of castration. Viva! filmed two women casually lifting

baby billy goats and placing a rubber ring

around the base of each goats’ testicles so the blood supply is cut off and the testes slowly shrivel and die. The UK government’s Farm Animal Welfare Council (FAWC) describes the procedure as causing

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