New Zealand Man Who Attempted 'Ethical' Dairy Business Says He 'Failed'

Herud had to develop a new cowshed to make the dairy industry less harmful to cows
Glen Herud
Herud is a third-generation dairy farmer (Photo: Facebook)

New Zeland's Glen Herud recently attempted a transformation of his dairy farm into an ethical business, only to discover that it was not an attainable goal.

'I failed'

The third-generation dairy farmer started Happy Cow Milk 'to make a difference' after he saw a demand in his country for milk that was more humane, sustainable, and environmentally friendly.

In his April 21 guest post for The Spinoff, he explained why he 'failed'.


One of the first issues Herud encountered was his packaging.

His attempt to implement reusable glass bottles to reduce the carbon footprint of his business was denied by both of New Zealand's contract milk processors.

Herud's solution to this problem was to invest his savings in constructing his own milk packaging factory using shipping containers.


The next order of business was putting an end to the inhumane practice of separating mother cows from their newborn calves.

Herud offered to pay a supplier 45 percent more than the going rate, as long as they'd adjust their practices to better suit the animals - only to be denied again.

He wrote: "They said leaving calves with their mothers wouldn't work. And it doesn't. Not on a conventional dairy farm, anyway."

Dairy Industry
This photo shared by Herud on Facebook did not include a caption (Photo: Facebook)

'Easily crushed'

"This is because cows have to walk about 2km to the cowshed & back again - two times a day."

This creates issues with transporting the mothers and their calves together, and ultimately would lead the calves to a 'holding yard' where they are 'easily crushed'.

So, Herud developed a new, transportable cowshed, which would not require the mothers to travel as far, and would allow them to return promptly to their offspring.

Large scale

Considering the significant cost of developing his business, Herud hoped to have his product stocked by large supermarkets.

However, the shops were not set up to manage a system with refillable glass bottles, and he was denied once again.

Plant-Based Milk
Herud did not comment on whether he thought plant-based milk was a viable alternative

'Relentless optimism'  

After the various hurdles he'd encountered Herud wrote that he 'hit a wall' and 'decided to admit that this is the end of the road'.

That sentiment did not last long, however, as he noted that he's currently working on getting the financial backing to make this plan work – a result of his 'relentless optimism'.

Herud did not comment on whether he thought that removing animal use and opting for a plant-based alternative would be more attainable, sustainable, or humane.

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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PBN Contributor:

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_.

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