Research by animal rights charity Viva! has found that most Brits are unaware of the treatment of cows in the dairy industry, with many saying they will cut down after learning the truth.
30% of respondents were unaware that around 1 in 5 dairy cows are kept indoors all year round, with no option to go outside. 69% said they opposed the practice, while 56% thought it should be banned and 49% said they would not buy dairy produced in this way.
“It’s encouraging to see people are willing to change their diets”
Just 41% of participants were aware that cows must give birth to produce milk, with only 27% knowing that calves are removed from their mothers shortly after being born. Once they had heard the facts, 24% were prepared to cut down on their dairy consumption; this figure rose to 45% among 25-34-year-olds. Of those willing to change, 53% were prepared to try plant-based milks, while 48% said they would cut down on cheese.
“Clear lack of knowledge”
The research comes as British consumers increasingly turn towards plant-based options, with the country’s vegan food market growing by 9.58% and 40% of consumers saying they want alternatives to meat and dairy. Meat consumption is also falling in the country, but many consumers are motivated by health rather than ethics.
“Ignorance about the UK dairy industry is widespread and profound,” said a spokesman for Viva!. “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.”
He 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.”plant-based oatly meat cheese milk industry