Costa milk supplier animal cruelty claims ‘unfounded’

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Animal abuse claims against a milk supplier to Freshways have been labelled unfounded by Red Tractor
Animal abuse claims against a milk supplier to Freshways have been labelled unfounded by Red Tractor

Related tags Dairy

Claims that a farm supplying milk to Freshways, whose customers include Costa, Iceland and British Airways, is mistreating animals have been labelled as unfounded by Red Tractor Standards.

An undercover investigation by protest group Viva! Campaigns claimed to have found multiple incidents of animal cruelty at Home Farm in Deal, Kent which supplies milk to Freshways.

Footage from the farm showed emaciated animals, while others struggling with lameness appeared to have their hind legs shackled together to prevent them from doing the splits.

The group also found “dead calves discarded in wheelie bins and one cow, who had been shot in the head, was found dumped outdoors – a breach of Government regulations”.

Red tractor investigation

However, an inspection by Red Tractor after these claims came to light said the conditions found by Viva! Were in no way reflective of normal industry practices.

“Upon reviewing the footage provided by Viva! and following the completion of a spot check of the farm, Red Tractor can confirm that the dairy farm scheme member is in compliance with Red Tractor animal welfare standards,” ​said a Red Tractor spokesman.

“The farm also has a strong and long-standing record of compliance with Red Tractor standards and consistently demonstrates best practice in British dairy farming. We are therefore satisfied that the Viva! claims against the Red Tractor member are unfounded.”

Undetectable breeches

Red Tractor accepted some breaches were not always detectable during inspections but highlighted that there were a number of ways for individuals to share their concerns with them, including a confidential ‘Tell Us’ reporting service.

“A Red Tractor assessor with animal welfare enforcement experience visited the farm on Monday this week and focussed on reviewing the treatment records of the cows identified in the footage, staff training records particularly for those identified in the footage and assessing the welfare of the cows and calves currently on farm,”​ Red Tractor added.

“Red Tractor is confident that the farm is and has been maintaining the standards expected of them and they can demonstrate that any animals which require it are treated promptly by trained stockman and with input from the vet.”

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Very Suspicious

Posted by Jane Wood,

I find it very suspicious that red tractor failed to address the footage and then claims that the farm has maintained standards of animal welfare. How can it claim that in the face of the evidence?

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Posted by Noname,

Inspections are announced. The farm would have cleaned up as soon as the footage aired.

Red tractor are a farce and support animal cruelty and exploitation.

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