Jay Wilde, the Derbyshire farmer who famously turned 56 'dairy cows' over to a sanctuary last year, now has a vegetable farm and much more in the works.
Wilde and his wife Katja, now vegans, plan to add a vegan cooking school, restaurant, shop, and maybe even accommodation to his inherited estate with the help of a crowdfunding campaign.
Responses to Wilde's move are mixed.
He's unsure he’d receive the blessing of his late father, and other farmers - including his brother-in-law - openly disagree with his choice.
While he's also received significant praise for his actions - through letters of gratitude, and support on social media - Wilde argues that he was simply fulfilling a moral obligation, calling animal exploitation 'indefensible if you think animals are anything more than meat'.
Wilde said: "What I’ve done, I couldn’t see an alternative. I don’t feel like a hero."
While Wilde and his wife worked hard to be kind to their cows, he said dairy farming brought him 'years of turmoil' adding that when he knew he was 'going to betray them' he 'really couldn’t look them in the eye'.
As someone who struggled in school, he felt forced into animal agriculture, an industry which he says many people are 'trapped in' for similar reasons to his own.
He said: "I did the shovelling but I didn’t buy into the ethos."
Wilde was fortunate enough to break free of his obligations and take steps toward nonviolent farming - and now advocates for a compassionate approach to encouraging others down the same path, saying in many cases farmers just 'don’t know what else to do'.
Emily Court is a passionate ethical vegan from Eastern Canada. She is a Challenge 22 Mentor, Digital Writer, and experienced animal advocate driven by issues of animal liberation and social justice. She studied at Dalhousie University, where her thesis highlighted intercultural and gender relations. She is an established public speaker, writer, and world traveller with a drive to provide a voice to those who might not otherwise have one. You can follow her on Instagram @emily.j.court or on Twitter @_EmilyJCourt_.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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