The badger cull has clearly been a political tool to keep traditionally conservative-voting farmers and farming communities onside. The government have been keen to show that they are doing something to help, that they are taking a strong stance. In reality this is manifesting in violence and cruelty rather than addressing the root cause - modern farming methods.
Historically cow's milk has enjoyed outstanding public relations, cleverly associating itself with fit athletes, strong bones and white-moustached seductively posturing celebrities. But if we weren't socialised into thinking that drinking dairy milk was desirable and acceptable, chances are we'd find it a pretty absurd notion.
Up to a fifth of dairy cows in the UK are kept indoors in factory farms all year round, never feeling the grass beneath their feet or the sun on their backs. In Denmark 85 per cent of farms were grazing cows on grass in 2001, but by 2010 this had reduced to just 35 per cent . In the US the majority of dairy farms are industrial-scale indoor systems which can house tens of thousands of cows.
When a succession of critics are happy to bemoan your dietary choices, it's easy for vegan foodies to lose hope. Well, plant-lovers of the UK, rejoice! We're only a month and a half into 2016 and news outlets have already printed a huge number of victories for dairy-free eaters. Here are the best stories so far.
Having a vegan as shadow minister for agriculture may well upset the cosy rapport farmers have with government at the moment, but I thought that was the point of electing Corbyn in the first place. To think the unthinkable and do what's right, rather than what's pragmatic and expedient to the wishes and votes of vested interests.
It is hard to express how depressing it is to get out of bed at 5.30am to work a 14 hour day to lose more money. It's difficult to carry on. We are dairy farmers on the north side of Dartmoor National Park with a small herd of 100 milking cows. We are struggling to survive. For every litre of milk we sell we now lose seven pence.
Many macrobiotic dieticians agree that lactose-intolerance in humans is a clear indicator that we shouldn't be munching so much mozzarella. Champions of the Mayr diet will testify that the digestion is the key to healthy body. It's important that we absorb the appropriate nutrients and avoid excess.
A key achievement of the Forum has been to reduce the live export of calves by 90%: now just 2% of dairy calves born in Britain are exported live abroad. Professor John Webster, Emeritus Professor of Animal Husbandry at the University of Bristol speaking at the Calf Forum event emphasised that despite the title of the Forum, it's not about exports but alternatives.
What of the cows that we do not see? Those with little or no access to those fields, those who are tethered and those who are pushed to their limits by excessive milk production? This may not be a familiar image to many of us, but it is the stark reality for a shockingly high proportion of dairy cows across Europe.