Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

M&S ‘disappointed’ by footage of calves penned in hutches at supplier farm

Calves penned in solitary hutches at Grange Dairy in East Chaldon, Dorset. (Animal Equality/PA Wire)
Calves penned in solitary hutches at Grange Dairy in East Chaldon, Dorset. (Animal Equality/PA Wire)

MARKS & SPENCER says it was “very disappointed” to see images of calves penned in solitary hutches at the farm of one of its milk suppliers.

Animal welfare group Animal Equality released footage of calves caged in the pens, claiming many were up to six months old and struggled to get into the plastic hutches.

Animal welfare laws ban solitary housing for calves beyond eight weeks old.

The farm, which Animal Equality named as Grange Dairy in East Chaldon, Dorset, belongs to J F Cobb & Sons and remains a supplier to M&S.

Dr Toni Shephard, executive director of Animal Equality UK, said: “Seeing row after row of baby calves alone in tiny pens – when they should naturally still be with their mothers – is truly heartbreaking.

The farm, which has broken animal welfare laws, remains a supplier to M&S. (Animal Equality/PA Wire)
The farm, which has broken animal welfare laws, remains a supplier to M&S. (Animal Equality/PA Wire)

“But realising that many of these are actually older female calves who, contrary to UK animal welfare law, have been confined like this for many months is shocking.

“UK animal welfare law recognises how vitally important exercise and social interaction is for calves and restricts solitary housing to just eight weeks, yet on this farm Animal Equality found female calves as old as six months cramped and suffering in individual pens.

“We are calling on M&S to break ties with this supplier immediately. We urge all supermarkets to implement a zero-tolerance policy when farms break animal welfare laws.”

M&S confirmed the farm remained a supplier and said: “We were very disappointed to see these images. Any breach of our standards is completely unacceptable.

“Our experts have been on site and worked with the farm to take action and address the situation.

“We work hard to uphold the highest welfare standards, which is recognised by animal welfare charities.”

(Animal Equality/PA Wire)
(Animal Equality/PA Wire)

The J F Cobb & Sons website has an RSPCA endorsement. A representative of J F Cobb & Sons said there were “never any issues with welfare” but confirmed that calves older than eight weeks had been held in the pens.

In an updated statement, Mr Cobb said: “As a family farming business, we care passionately about our livestock and all our energy is focused on keeping our cattle comfortable and healthy.

“We work closely with vets and industry welfare experts to establish the best approach to looking after our animals, and our health and welfare performance is industry-leading.

“Our animals are under close veterinary supervision and there is no suggestion that the health and welfare of our animals has been compromised.

“We have been in liaison with Marks & Spencer and our milk buyer over this matter and last week spot audits were undertaken, including from Trading Standards.

“All of these audits were passed successfully, with no concerns over animal welfare.”

 

A Dorset County Council Trading Standards spokeswoman said: “Our animal health team has carefully considered all the allegations made, visited and inspected the premises concerned and are satisfied that there is no evidence of any breaches of welfare requirements.”