A dairy company which doesn't cull its older cows, but instead "retires them", has moved to a new permanent home.
The UK's first "slaughter-free" dairy farm, Ahimsa dairy, is hoping its model will be picked up upon by other farms.
Dairy cows are usually culled when they get older and cannot produce as much milk. But for Ahimsa dairy, the older cows are "retired".
Newborn calves are normally separated from their mothers, but they stay together as grazing partners at the Ahimsa dairy.
The dairy farm has now acquired land in Manton, Rutland, after previously renting land in Leicestershire.
The inspiration behind the Ahimsa Dairy comes from the farm at Bhaktivedanta Manor, which is run by the Hare Krishna community, a Hindu religious organisation.
'Build for the future'
Its website states: "Thanks to support from our wonderful friends and supporters we have finally completed the purchase of new organic land in Rutland. Our cows now have a permanent home and we can start to build for the future.
"So far we have bought 48 acres of land in the lovely village of Wing. We are also renting a further 24 acres there with an option to buy in 18 months.
"We are renting a yard adjacent to the land with a track running down to the fields where our cows spent the winter in a barn. They were over-joyed when we finally opened the gate and let them run out onto the grass."
The Ahimsa Dairy Foundation is a not-for-profit company, and produces 23,000 of litres of milk a year.
Until recently, the model was piloted and worked in partnership with an organic dairy and environmental charity in Kent called Commonwork, and with OMSco – the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative. They are now independent.[ ahimsa-milk ] [ cow-protection ] [ uk ]