Dairy cows

Male calves are being killed because it’s cheaper than rearing them

Farmers are under pressure to keep costs down

According to a Guardian investigation, a lack of demand for male calves means farmers can't afford to keep them.

What it means: Female calves are needed for milking, but when male calves are born it's cheaper for a farmer to send them to slaughter, rather than sell them on.

According to the Guardian, the latest figures show that more than 90,000 calves were slaughtered. It's still only about 19 per cent of male calves born, but as dairy farmers come under pressure to keep costs down, the number of male calves being slaughtered at birth is rising.

Farmers have been caught in the middle of a 'supermarket war', as stores try and compete for who can offer customers the lowest price for a pint of milk. It means milk is often sold for cheaper than water, and as dairy farmers are forced to lower prices to accommodate it one in 10 have gone out of business in the past 10 years.

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