Jay Wilde—a former dairy and beef farmer in Derbyshire, England—has begun producing handmade organic oat milk. While the milk is currently offered only to local customers, it will soon be available throughout areas of England in sustainable, returnable glass bottles. Jay described his decision:
We’re thrilled that not only are we now working in a more ethical way, but we can also continue to support the 17 cows in our retired herd who still live with us at the farm.
Jay inherited a dairy farm in 2011 and produced dairy products and eventually beef until 2017. But a chance encounter with ethical vegetarians at a transcendental meditation retreat opened his eyes to the cruelty of animal exploitation. After the experience, Jay and his wife, Katja, could no longer bear sending their animals to slaughter and chose to rehome most of their cows to Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk. The process was even documented in the BAFTA-winning film 73 Cows.
The Wildes are currently working with Refarm’d, a nonprofit organization that helps farmers transition away from animal products. Its website states:
We will assist the ex-dairy farms to sustainably and locally source the ingredients to produce plant-based drinks on their farms. The farmers’ land will be converted into an animal sanctuary for their cattle that are no longer being used for dairy farming.
The organization has helped the Wildes change their former cattle farm into a sanctuary for their 17 remaining cows and switch to producing vegetables and oat milk. Jay has no regrets leaving dairy and meat behind. He said,
Plant-based food production is the future, and I would urge more dairy farmers to contact Refarm’d to begin making the transition away from animal farming.
Addressing many of society’s greatest problems—from hunger and pollution to deforestation and the chronic disease epidemic—requires changing the way our world eats. Mercy For Animals has its own program to help farmers participate in that change.
The Transfarmation Project offers an avenue for farmers to become part of the solution and leave the problem behind. They know the food and farming system better than anyone, and they are as eager to join in constructing a better food system as are entrepreneurs, activists, and other changemakers.