Britain’s most expensive pint of milk was unveiled today – produced by pampered holy cows and costing a staggering £1.70 a pint.
The ‘Ahimsa Milk’ is produced at Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford, Herts., on a 78-acre farm run by Hare Krishnas.
Their religious beliefs mean that the milk must be made without harming or killing any living creature.
The 44 cows, of which most are dairy Short Horns, are milked only by hand to the sound of sacred mantras and are not slaughtered when their yield dries up.
Manor spokesman Radha Mohan Das believes the milk will be ”worth the cost” and appeal to British animal lovers.
He said: ”People are prepared to pay extra for organic and more healthy produced milk and we think our products will appeal to anyone who cares about animals.
”Instead of taking calves away from their mothers early to yield more milk we allow them to suckle and ‘take their fill’ for as long as they like.
”We also carry out all of our milking by hand because milking machines can be painful for dairy cows.
”Sacred mantras are played whenever the cows are milked and we allow them to live out their natural lives even when their supplies dry up.
”Normally dairy cows are killed when they can no longer provide milk but in Hinduism cows are revered as a symbol of mother earth.
”Although it won’t be the cheapest available it will be worth the cost because we will treat the cows with love and care throughout their lives.”
Ahimsa Milk, which translates to ‘without harm’ in Sanskrit, must be produced without harming or killing any living animals.
For this reason no animals are slaughtered on the farm and calves are allowed to suckle milk from their mothers naturally before any is taken for human consumption.
The dairy cows, which are decorated with flower garlands, are not fed any hormones to produce more milk and are not attached to painful milking machines.
They are also allowed to die naturally rather than being killed for meat when they can no longer produce milk.
Any male calves are not killed for meat and are instead used to work the land and transport food and waste around the working farm.
The £2.5 million centre, named New Gokul, will be officially opened by 30 priests chanting 5,000-year-old mantras today.
The milk, which will cost £1.20 more than the average pint, will be sold on the working farm after food hygiene formalities are completed and the facility hopes to make up to 1,800 pints a week.
Bhaktivedanta Manor began hosting the Janmashtami festival in 1973 when 250 people attended including Beatle George Harrison and Eric Clapton.
Harrison later bought the manor house before donating it and 78 acres of land, including formal gardens and a lake, to the Hare Krishna movement.
The festival is now the largest of its type in the UK and attracts tens of thousands of visitors to the manor.