This week, animal-rights group Surge—founded by vegan activist Ed Winters, known as “Earthling Ed”—released footage from its 18-month undercover investigation of numerous dairy farms across the United Kingdom. The footage was acquired by hidden cameras and shows widespread abuse of mother cows and calves, who are repeatedly beaten, punched, kicked, and prodded. Additionally, the footage shows violent legal acts such as farmers inseminating mother cows by inserting their hands into their vaginas and anuses; separating calves from their mothers by throwing them onto tractors; force-feeding distressed calves; and shooting baby cows in the head when they are deemed useless to the dairy industry, sometimes leaving them to decompose on the farm. “What we have documented has shocked us,” Winters narrates the footage. “The dairy industry is painted as a wholesome industry where the animals are treated with care and compassion … however the footage that we acquired tells a very different story to the one the industry tells us. Animals being systematically exploited and abused. Farmers [are] showing contempt towards the animals, violently beating them, and showing a complete disregard for their life.”
The footage is part of Surge’s larger “Dismantle Dairy” campaign that aims to expose the violent nature of the dairy industry as a whole, not just a single mismanaged farm. “Death can be found everywhere on dairy farms,” Winters said. “What we see in this footage does not represent isolated cases or bad apples. This footage represents the systemic and ubiquitous nature of the violence that takes place on animal farms. Dairy products come from violence but we have the power to make it stop. Please leave dairy off your plate.”
The “Dismantle Dairy” campaign plans to release additional content in the near future.