Dear Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsbury’s,
CC: Jon Jenkins, CEO of Müller Milk and Ingredients
Following the first ever exposé of male dairy calves being mercilessly killed inside a British abattoir, as well as horrendous abuse at Oaklands Livestock Centre, a calf dealers, I urge you to help Animal Justice Project to prevent this abhorrent fate for other bull calves. The dairy industry is changing and you must adapt too.
In 2021, 28,000 male dairy calves, under one month old, were killed inside slaughterhouses and a further 65,000 in 2020. This took place, despite many supermarkets and dairy companies assuring customers that bull calves will no longer be killed on their farms. Animal Justice Project believes that because of an array of loopholes amongst retailers’ bull calf policies, calves may slip through the net and end up inside an abattoir.
Sainsbury’s own bull calf policy prohibits this killing on the farm, and asks that their farmers do not “knowingly” sell to dealers for slaughter. We are glad to see this, as no calf should end up inside a slaughterhouse from just seven days old. Given that Müller processes around half of your own-brand milk, and that they have failed to act to protect calves from going to slaughter, will you join Animal Justice Project in urging Müller to tighten its policy?
Müller’s own bull calf policy does not prohibit the onward trade of calves at markets and to slaughter. This completely undermines your own policy and reflects poorly on the welfare standards of Sainsbury’s. Over 4,000 people have signed Animal Justice Project’s petition urging Müller to tighten their bull calf policy to prevent this onward trade, but they have so far seemingly failed to take action. Not only are they failing calves, Müller has been ranked in the worst category for the ‘Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare Report 2020’, a ranking of which they have held since 2012 and has remained unchanged. This report states that Müller “provide limited if any evidence that it recognises farm animal welfare as a business issue” - cows and calves deserve better. If Müller fails to act, are you willing to drop them as your major processor given that their policy undermines your own?
Animal Justice Project has tried many times already through 2021 and 2022 to liaise with your team to get Sainsbury’s to take action for calves and urge Müller to prohibit this onward trade, yet this has amounted to no clear action. You state that “We know that animal health and welfare matters to our customers”, yet your inaction to urge Müller to tighten their bull policy contradicts this. I sincerely wish that you will align your statements with your actions and join Animal Justice Project to help protect male dairy calves, who are slipping through the net and ending up inside slaughterhouses. No baby, who is a matter of days old, should be facing this dire fate inside an abattoir.