WARNING – UPSETTING IMAGES A healthy calf was shot in the head at a dairy farm supplying milk to the chocolate industry.
The unwanted young bull was led to a trailer – strewn with other animal carcasses – after being ripped from its mother.
It was then shot by a man, believed to be a licensed slaughterman from a fox-hunting kennels, carrying a pistol.
The footage was secretly recorded by animal welfare activists who infiltrated 15 farms producing milk to be used in some of Britain’s most-loved chocolate bars.
Cows have to give birth before producing milk and the film exposed the fate of their unwanted male offspring.
Members of campaign group Viva! said their film exposed the ‘bloody secrets’ behind the sweets – while stressing that nothing they uncovered was illegal.
The farm in the footage, Harwood Gate near Bristol, displays a sign showing it supplies milk to chocolate giant Cadbury.
Viva! spokesman Justin Kerswell said: ”Our investigation has exposed for the first time the life of a Cadbury dairy cow.
”The trauma of birth, over producing and pendulous udders and the loneliness and confusion of separated calves calling for mothers they will never see again.
”This is not just Cadbury – but the dairy industry in general.
”The cruel parental separation and shooting of thousands of male dairy calves hardly fits in with their picturesque pastoral image.
”The cruelty is inherent to the industry.
”I strongly urge anyone wanting to eat compassionately to watch the footage and see the reality of dairy production in the UK.”
Viva! launched an investigation after figures revealed 100,000 male calves a year are deemed a surplus by-product on Britain’s dairy farms – because they cannot produce milk.
Some die at birth or go for pet food.
The four-minute undercover Viva! footage, which has been uploaded to YouTube, shows the calf callously shot dead after being pulled from its mother.
The shooter says the calf could end up at the famous Beaufort Hunt – of which Prince Charles is a patron – where it would be fed to the dogs.
Cadbury, which produces 250 million bars of its famous Dairy Milk each year, is owned by US food giant Kraft.
A spokesman said calves were normally sent to a dealer. But the one which was filmed had a deformed leg so it was disposed of ‘humanely’.
Kraft Foods said in a statement: ”Consumers can be reassured we take animal welfare standards seriously.
”Creating a market for bull calves is a challenge for the dairy industry. We have been working with our suppliers to encourage humane solutions.”