News that the Vegan Society is working with Bradley Nook Farm in Derbyshire to transition from beef to vegan organics is the icing on the (vegan) cake of all our years of campaigning. It shows the great value of networking both within the vegan movement and with movements beyond in the wider world.
BBC News – Vegetarian beef farmer gives herd to animal sanctuary https://t.co/5da4u5Neyd
— Animal Aid (@AnimalAid) June 15, 2017
Veggies met up with farmer Jay when catering at Northern Green Gatherings at his inherited family farm. The farm near Ashbourne, Derbyshire is also one of a number of locations used on rotation for Earth First! Gatherings. As vegan campaign caterers Veggies has catered for EF! since the very first gathering in 1991, helping in a small way to maintain a vegan ethos in the grass roots eco-action movement.
It was through the involvement of long term Veggies member Cathy in another Vegan Society project (hospital catering) that the opportunity came about to mention in conversation the potential to veganise Jay’s farm. The rest is, as they say, history, and hopefully a turning point in the transition of many more livestock farms to the compassionate and efficient farming of Food for a Future.
— Veggies Catering Ⓥ (@veggiesnottm) July 3, 2017
— Veggies Catering Ⓥ (@veggiesnottm) June 15, 2017
Hosting camps & gatherings can provide a useful income stream for vegan landowners. We will actively encourage the gatherings at which we cater to consider holding events at Bradley Nook Farm. As participants in the Northern Green Gathering (NGG) held there each August, we will urge the organisers to encourage other caterers at the event to honour the compassionate stance of the farm by highlighting vegan options. We know this to be a popular position to take as Nottingham Green Festival has declared a fully vegan ethos from 2017.
Meanwhile Jay has already discussed plans for his new ventures with Derbyshire Dales District Council.
He said: “We’ve got a huge range of brick buildings on the farm which are unused. We’re hoping to turn those into a vegan restaurant, a vegan teaching kitchen and accommodation for people who would like to come and help on the vegetable growing. A vegan holidays sort of thing.” (Derby Telegraph)
Since 1984 Veggies Catering Campaign has saved hundreds of cows by simply selling, with vegan attitude, possibly half a million Veggies Burgers. All those lives were unknown to us, but the path has led to 73 individual living, breathing lives that you can now meet at Hillside Animal Rescue:
Account No: 69668302
Sort Code: 08-92-99
Hill Top Farm, Hall Lane, Frettenham, Norwich, NR12 7LT
Visit freefromharm.org to read the inspiring stories of other former meat & dairy farmers that became vegan activists.
- BBC News (extract below)
- The Independent (extract below)
- Daily Mirror
- The Metro
- Country Living
- Derby Telegraph
- Jeremy Vine Show 14th June’17 (1hour 10mins in)
- Veggies Catering Campaign on Facebook
A vegetarian farmer has given his herd of cows to an animal sanctuary to protect them from the slaughterhouse.
Jay Wilde, 59, who farms in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, sent  cattle to a Norfolk rescue centre as he could no longer bear to send them to be killed.
Mr Wilde, a vegetarian for 25 years, grew up herding cows and took over the family farm when his father died.
“Cows have good memories and a range of emotions. They form relationships. I’ve even seen them cry,” he said.
“It was very difficult to do your best to look after them and then send them to the slaughterhouse for what must be a terrifying death.”
The Hillside Animal Sanctuary near Frettenham said 30 of the cows are pregnant and all the animals “would live out their lives essentially as pets”.
Founder, Wendy Valentine, said Mr Wilde is not the first farmer to have donated his herd.
She recalls a couple who “could not bear to continue dairy farming and kept their cows as pets with the help of the sanctuary”.
Mr Wilde, who switched from dairy farming to organic beef production on the death of his father in 2011, said he always wanted to give up animal production because he “couldn’t believe it was right to eat them”.
He believes dairy farming is particularly hard because calves and cows would often become distressed on separation.
“I’m relieved to have made the decision to no longer farm animals, something which I always found quite upsetting,” he said.
His brother-in-law told him he was “absolutely insane” to give away cattle which could fetch up to £40,000 at market.
He said “a lack of imagination” had previously stopped him switching to arable farming.
Mr Wilde will now be running a vegan organic market farm supplying garden produce without using animal products or fertilisers.
Leaving their old cattle sheds at Bradley Nook Farm in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, the 59 cows were rehomed in Norfolk at the Hillside Animal Sanctuary on Monday.
A vegetarian for a total of 25 years, Mr Wilde told The Times that he found it “very difficult to do your best to look after them and then send them to the slaughterhouse for what must be a terrifying death.”
“I’m relieved to have made the decision to no longer farm animals, something which I always found quite upsetting,” Mr Wilde said.
“Cows have good memories and a range of emotions. They form relationships. I’ve even seen them cry.”
The herd, worth £40,000 at market, will avoid the abattoir to join the sanctuary’s 300 cattle and 2,000 horses, donkeys and ponies. Mr Wilde has kept ten as “pets.”
The founder of the sanctuary, Wendy Valentine, said Mr Wilde’s cattle could now enjoy their full 25-year lifespans rather than reaching the slaughter age of two to three years.
The sanctuary was started in 1995 to draw attention to the effects of factory farming and needs to raise a minimum of £5m per year to continue to care for the animals.
Tom Kuehnel, the Vegan Society’s campaign officer, told The Independent: “Jay is a real pioneer, which we hope will inspire other farmers to move towards more compassionate and sustainable farming methods that don’t involve animals.”