The Ethical Dairy is owned and operated by David and Wilma Finlay, who established the farm in 2012 with a focus on ethical and sustainable farming practices.
The cows on the farm are primarily of the Ayrshire breed, and are allowed to graze on diverse pastures throughout the year. The farm also has a cow retirement program, which provides a humane end-of-life for older cows who are no longer producing milk. The farm follows a policy of keeping calves with their mothers for an extended period of time, which is one of the key principles of their ethical and sustainable farming practices.
At The Ethical Dairy, calves are allowed to stay with their mothers for a minimum of six months, and in some cases up to a year, which is much longer than the industry standard of just a few days or weeks. This extended period of time allows for a natural bonding and socialization process to occur between the cow and her calf, as well as providing the calf with all the important benefits of receiving colostrum and a natural source of nutrition from their mother’s milk.
The Ethical Dairy believes that this policy is not only more humane, but it also leads to healthier cows and calves, and ultimately results in higher quality milk products. The farm believes that by allowing cows to express their natural behaviors and form bonds with their calves, the cows are less stressed and more content, which in turn helps to reduce the incidence of mastitis and other health issues.
After the initial period of bonding and socialization, the calves are gradually weaned off their mother’s milk and transitioned to a diet of grass and hay. They are still allowed to have social contact with their mother and other cows in the herd.
Overall, the policy of keeping calves with their mothers at The Ethical Dairy is an important aspect of their commitment to promoting animal welfare, sustainability, and regenerative agriculture practices.
The Ethical Dairy follows principles of regenerative agriculture, which involves using holistic management techniques to promote soil health, biodiversity, and animal welfare. The farm operates a closed-loop system, meaning that it produces all of its own feed and composts all of its own waste.
In addition to producing dairy products such as cheese, butter, and yogurt, The Ethical Dairy also offers farm tours and educational programs to promote awareness of sustainable and ethical farming practices.