A vegetarian 'beef' farmer is an unlikely thought but this is exactly what Jay Wilde has been battling his entire working life as a dairy and then 'beef' farmer.
Jay has been vegetarian for the last 25 years and he took over his father's farm after his death in 2011 - but couldn't stand sending cows to slaughter to make a living.
The 59-year-old contacted The Vegan Society with the intention to stop farming animals and move towards growing crops for human consumption after reading the charity's Grow Green report which inspired farmers to do just that.
The group had met numerous times before they found the solution: they planned for the animals to be transported to a sanctuary to live out their natural lifespans.
The Vegan Society put Jay in touch with Hillside Animal Sanctuary which agreed to rehome the herd of 59 cows, 30 of whom are pregnant. The move took place last Monday (12 June) and all the cows have settled well at the sanctuary.
While the sanctuary is delighted to be able to help these animals, the cost of maintaining them is significant and they have issued an appeal for donations - anyone able to help can go to their website and donate.
Jay believes that cows are conscious of what goes on around them, that they have personalities and are "not just units of food". He has even seen cows cry when their calves are taken away. He has made a connection with animals similar to what many vegans have done.
This is the first such case and The Vegan Society hopes that Jay’s incredible story will inspire other farmers to move towards more compassionate and sustainable farming without the use of animals.
Any farmers interested in ceasing farming animals should contact The Vegan Society on 0121 523 1742 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image copyright: The Vegan Society