Dairy Farmers Need 'Protection' From Vegan Activists, Says Politician

Environment Secretary Michael Gove made the comments during a farming conference - adding that he is a big fan of the anti-vegan 'Februdairy' marketing campaign
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 Dairy calves in hutches on a UK farm

Dairy calves in hutches on a UK farm (Photo: Animal Equality)

Dairy farmers deserve 'protection' from vegan activists, according to Environment Secretary Michael Gove.

Gove's comments , which he made during last week's NFU Conference, followed the highly-publicized launch of an online interactive map detailing the addresses of over 9,000 UK dairy farms by pro-vegan organization Project Calf.

According to David Exwood, South East chairman for the National Farmers Union, it is 'very intrusive having protesters turn up' to farms, as 'some farmers live there with their families'.

Protection from vegan activists

"Dairy farmers deserve protection from activists who would undermine their work, they - our dairy farmers, alongside sheep and beef farmers play a critical role in keeping pastures and other vital landscapes resilient and strengthening rural economies and rural society," Gove said.

"That's why I am an enthusiastic supporter of initiatives such as Febru-dairy which remind us how much we owe our dairy farmers and why, at the end of a hard day at Defra, I am always happy to raise a pint - of full cream milk - to thank them for what they do."

He added: "I'm all for people who care about the environment having an opportunity to express their views pungently and clearly, but I am absolutely opposed to people who are running proper businesses being stopped from running their businesses and being in fear as a result of people breaking the law."

'We are not there to intimidate'

According to Project Calf, its resource is intended purely to document animal abuse on dairy farms.

"We are not there to intimidate, but simply to document and take pictures of the cows, especially when we see calves in separation pens," said the group.

"We understand that farmers are concerned but everything we did with the map has been legal."