RECENT investigations by Animal Aid have revealed a worrying new trend in dairy farming: the arrival of the almost permanently confined battery cow'.

Under this ultra-intensive regime, many of the cows are kept inside sheds all year round. Some may get out for intervals during the summer months; many will never venture outside at all.

At four such units, we filmed animals crowded together in the gloom, and evidence of emaciation and disease. At one farm, two cows and a young calf had been shot and dumped outside.

Industry insiders told us that, after just four lactations, intensively reared dairy cows are likely to be lame, infertile or suffering from some other ailment that renders them unproductive.

At this point, they are sent for slaughter.

The dairy industry also discards unwanted male calves by shooting them or sending them overseas to veal crates. It's time to ditch this cruelty and go dairy-free. Contact for tasty, cruelty-free recipes.

Kate Fowler-Reeves, Animal Aid, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent.