Our aim is to expose dairy farming practices, gather evidence and present it to the public.
To start, pick a dairy farm, preferably one which is accessible via a public footpath. You can find one using the map of UK dairy farms provided, or if you already have a farm in mind you can move to the next step of checking you have suitable access. The importance of public footpath access is explained in the legal notes below.
There are lots of options when it comes to choosing which equipment you want to use – hidden cameras, camcorders, regular cameras or even a drone. Just remember to follow guidelines on using your drone safely. Or you can just use your phone. All footage will have an enormous and vital impact when documenting the horrific reality behind dairy.
Another way to get footage is using a dash cam – cows are sometimes taken across a road between fields on their way to be milked at set times each day. Take a look at the example which we filmed this summer in Trudoxhill, North Somerset, using a mobile phone mounted in a sat nav holder.
Cows are very sensitive and easily upset, so before heading out, make sure you’re familiarised with the code of conduct; it’s essential to make sure the welfare of the animals is your priority during visits.
months is the age when the first artificial insemination happens.
Using public footpaths and the law.
Am I legally allowed to be doing this?
Yes, you are.
The aim of PROJECT CALF is to bear witness to the suffering of the animals on dairy farms, gather footage of what is happening to them to show people where their dairy products really come from and share this. We aren’t there to cause upset, disrupt anybody’s day or harass people.
The following information relates to English law, if you plan to hold an event elsewhere, please check to ensure you stay within the law. One example of the differences is that in Scotland there is a “right to roam” act, you can find up to date information about it at: https://www.scotways.com/faq/law-on-statutory-access-rights
In England, many farms have public footpaths running through them which allow us to see cows and calves and remain completely within the law, provided we follow the guidance which is clearly explained in the following article.
How do I know which parts of a farm I can access?
You should only access areas marked as a public right of way. When looking at an ordinance survey map public rights of way will be indicated in a specific colour depending on the type of map you have. On the OS explorer map all public rights of way are shown in green. This is the one of the most detailed maps available and the one we prefer to use when out walking.
This link explains all of the public rights of way available to you when walking in the countryside:
You can purchase a paper copy or download the OS Maps app for your smartphone. This option does rely on you having an internet connection so is worth downloading offline sections of the area you’re going to be visiting when you do have connection.
Also remember if you have no internet you’ll need a compass too. Basic map reading skills are useful for at least one member of your group.
What if somebody tells me I’m trespassing? Can I get into trouble?
Some landowners may try to tell you that you cannot be on their land. A good working knowledge of the footpaths you are using will help you in this situation.
If you do accidentally get lost, don’t panic, just make your way safely and carefully back to the public footpath and continue with your walk. There is lots of information available online about trespassing and the law, but essentially it is not a criminal offence to accidentally be on somebody’s land providing you do not do anything to damage property or intimidate them, and leave promptly when asked.
This article is an easy read on the basics of trespass law:
This one is a little more in depth:
Below is a link to landowner responsibilities, we also recommend you familiarise yourself with this before setting off, so you know what they can and can’t do.
Filming on public footpaths
You do not need permits to film or photograph in public places like footpaths and neither landowners or police officers have no power to stop you filming or photographing. If a landowner or a police officer insists that you stop filming, show them the Guidance
for Photographers issued by Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland:
‘There are no powers prohibiting the taking of photographs, film or digital images in a public place. Therefore members of the public and press should not be prevented from doing so. We must acknowledge that citizen journalism is a feature of modern life. Unnecessarily restricting photography, whether for the casual tourist or professional is unacceptable and it undermines public confidence in the police service. Once an image has been recorded, the police have no power to delete or confiscate it without a court order.’
Filming on private property
There is no law prohibiting filming or taking photographs on private property, however, a landowner can ask you to stop doing something on their land and have you removed if you don’t comply.
Nobody, police or landowner, has the right to erase your pictures without a court order. If you are requested to delete your footage – refuse. Similarly, no one is entitled to a copy or original of any images you may have taken, unless you have agreed to that in a signed contract with them.
If you are on private property and get asked for ID, you don’t need to produce any, nor should you give them your address. Private parties have very limited rights to detain people against their will, and they can be subject to legal action if they harass you.
Being responsible in the countryside.
It’s important to make sure you follow some simple biosecurity measures if you are visiting areas where farm animals are living, both for your protection and for theirs.
There is a lot of advice online, but the most important thing to remember is to make sure you follow good hand hygiene practices and wash any clothes and footwear after your visit, not only to protect yourself from potential illness but to make sure you don’t spread bacteria from one farm to another.
This fact sheet if helpful in explaining some of the precautions you can take to keep yourself and others safe:
Remember, when visiting a farm, leave only your footprints behind and only take footage with you.