Cows and the Earth

A Story of Kinder Dairy Farming
By Ranchor Prime

Photos © Graham Fudger

Ranchor Prime and Chrissie Hynde (of the Pretenders) launched his new book at the Southbank Centre in London, where they were joined for a photocall by two of Bhaktivedanta Manor’s oxen, Sukadeva and Sahadeva. The book has since received national media attention.

  • Chrissie Hynde supports unique experiment to run a dairy farm entirely without slaughter or fossil fuels
  • New book, published in hardback on October 28, reveals the story behind first cruelty-free farm based in UK and reveals why milk is cheaper than water
  • Preface by Chrissie Hynde and foreword by Patrick Holden, Director of Soil Association

Cows and the Earth tells the provocative story of the first and only farm in the UK to run entirely without slaughter or fossil fuels, and the only farm to produce cruelty-free milk.

It’s a unique and real-life experiment to demonstrate what happens when dairy cows and their offspring are allowed to live productive lives instead of being sacrificed in the name of cheap milk.

It all started in 1973 when George Harrison donated a Hertfordshire manor house and twenty acres of land to a young community of Krishna people. The first thing they did was to buy a cow.

Thirty-six years later, Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford, is a carbon-free working farm, which houses 50 cows and oxen in low-tech English oak farm buildings. In these thirty-six years, no animal has ever been killed and Hindu principles of cow protection are neatly transplanted into the modern western world to run a dairy farm entirely without slaughter or fossil fuels.

The standard workings of a conventional dairy farm in the UK mean that cows are pumped full of hormones and kept continuously pregnant. They are usually slaughtered after four or five years, their calves are removed at birth and male calves are usually slaughtered at birth. In short, the lives of cows are cheap and disposable, which is why a pint of milk is cheaper than half a litre of bottled water. In fact, the average person in the UK spends just £1.80 a week on milk, nature’s most nutritious drink.

At Bhaktivedanta Manor, cows are protected by customary Hindu practices meaning no animal is slaughtered. Calves suckle from their mothers, cows are milked by hand and trained bulls plough the land. It is Britain’s first farm to run entirely without animal slaughter, cruelty and fossil fuels.

Thirty five thousand litres of cruelty-free milk are produced every year from this unique farm, which cares for cows and the earth and so embodies the sustainable and ethical principles necessary for long-term peace and prosperity.

Published alongside the Ahimsa campaign, which aims to set new humane standards for milk production and endorsed by the Soil Association and Compassion in World Farming, Cows and the Earth offers a convincing argument for why cow protection embodies the principles of sustainable and ethical living so necessary for the future peace and prosperity of our planet.

Ranchor Prime worked as a teacher, artist and community leader in yoga communities before becoming an environmental project manager for the World Wide Fund for Nature and advisor to the Alliance of Religions and Conservation. He has published ten books on Hindu spirituality and ecology.

Cows and the Earth, by Ranchor Prime, with 32 pages of colour photos by Astri