Animal rights group, Animal Equality, has released footage of calves being “violently handled” on the Coombe organic dairy farm in Somerset which supplies Waitrose.
The footage shows several cows with their back legs chained together in shackles and calves being denied access to water for up to 29 hours on some of the hottest days of the year.
The group said its investigation revealed that Coombe Farm failed to meet the minimum legal requirements for looking after calves and fell well below organic and RSPCA standards, despite being certified by the Soil Association and RSPCA Assured.
A statement by Animal Equality said: “Far from the idyllic image of organic dairy farming, such cruel treatment of newborn calves while their mothers look on helplessly will undoubtedly shock consumers.
“Yet the breaking of this strong maternal bond is an inherent part of the dairy industry, where mothers and babies are routinely separated so that their breast milk can be bottled and sold to us.”
Animal Equality has passed the footage on to both of these organisations, as well as to Waitrose.