90-Year-Old Dairy Farm Growing Hemp So That Owners Can Escape ‘Soulless’ Dairy Industry

Posted on by PETA Australia

For three generations, the Welch family has been involved in the New Zealand dairy industry. But now that the farm is in Tom Welch’s hands, it’s producing a cruelty-free super-crop, hemp.

What made the Welch family want to move away from an established dairy set-up? It was a combination of the bureaucracy involved in the mass industrialisation of dairy “products” and the questionable ethics of dairy farming. Tom Welch knows all too well the gruesome reality of an industry that’s responsible for the barbaric deaths of millions of sensitive, intelligent cows every year:


“One day, you gotta chop her head off. Well, hmm. … It doesn’t always sit well.”

It’s not surprising, then, that he seems excited about farming hemp:

“I think we are only scratching the surface with what we can do with hemp and, in fact, what we are forced to do with hemp in the future – for example fuel, building materials, all of it.”

And of course, vegan milk!

Why Are Farmers Growing Hemp?

Once farmers research hemp, they realise that there isn’t much that this super-crop can’t achieve, both for their bank balances and through its many uses. And they’re no longer exploiting and killing cows for the dairy industry.

According to the New Zealand Herald, hemp is “considered a ‘superfood’ with more omega 3 than tuna, more protein and iron than steak and more fibre than oats”

It can also be used to produce a range of non-food items, such as textiles, building materials, and personal-hygiene products.

The Horrors of the Dairy Industry

Imagine a mother condemned to a cycle of forced pregnancies and labour in a misery-filled life that, after years, ends in an abattoir.

She cries out desperately as, repeatedly, her babies are taken from her just hours after their births. Her female infants will be doomed to this same cruel cycle, and the males aren’t even a week old when they’re shot in the head or killed with a blow from a hammer.

It sounds like a nightmare, but it’s the reality for the more than 1.6 million cows on Australia’s dairy farms.


Cows don’t automatically produce milk – they make it for the same reason that humans do, to feed their babies. Female animals in the dairy industry are artificially inseminated repeatedly to ensure that they give birth every 13 months, so that humans can consume the milk that’s intended for their calves. When their bodies finally give out and their milk production wanes, they’re sent to the abattoir, often more than a decade short of their natural lifespans.

“Bobby calves” – the hundreds of thousands of male calves born on dairy farms every year – are treated as “waste products” because they can’t produce milk. They’re killed at only 5 or 6 days old by being shot in the head or bludgeoned to death with a hammer.

What You Can Do

Ditching dairy “products” is the only way to end this cruel cycle of abuse. And with all the delicious dairy-free products now available, including cheeses, milks, and ice creams, making the switch to plant-based eating has never been easier! Get your free vegan starter kit today: