LETTER: Herd instinct is to blame the `greedy' farmer

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The Independent Online
Sir: In order to continue producing milk, a cow must have a calf every year. After a few days the calf is taken away from the mother so that the milk can be taken for human consumption. Fifty per cent of these calves will be male and therefore sui table only for meat. In effect, beef is a by-product of milk.

If we do not want calves to be exported in what are unpleasant and often cruel conditions, we could consider these options: putting down a proportion of male calves at birth; drinking less milk (and eat less cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais, etc); eating more beef; paying substantially more for milk, milk products and beef.

Any of these options would probably cause a public outcry. Ignorance of how food is produced, combined with a belief that all farmers are greedy and cruel, is clouding and confusing an issue that has needed to be addressed for years.

Yours faithfully, BRIDGET BODOANO London, SW12

9 January