National Farmers’ Union’s chief dairy adviser answers your questions | Veganism

I’m Sian Davies, the National Farmers’ Union’s chief dairy adviser. I represent dairy farmers across England and Wales who work hard every day of the year to ensure they can produce healthy, nutritious milk and dairy products for consumers to enjoy here in the UK and across the world.

I joined the NFU in 2009 and was appointed chief dairy adviser in 2014. Prior to this I worked for three and a half years in the NFU’s Brussels office as a European policy adviser following UK and EU developments on livestock, dairy, cereals and rural development.

Are animals treated fairly when they produce milk or eggs for humans? 

From: St Peter's Primary School

It’s in farmers’ interest to treat their animals well as happy cows and hens produce high quality milk and eggs. There is strict regulation on animal health and welfare here in the UK and in most cases farmers go over and above these through being members of the Red Tractor assurance scheme, ensuring high standards of environmental care, animal welfare and traceability. So look out for the Red Tractor logo on food products!

Some people become vegans so that they don’t have to kill innocent animals. But becoming a vegan isn’t any better because you have to ruin/destroy the habitats of innocent animals just so that you can grow more crops. So technically you are still killing the animals. So is it better to become a vegan or not? Tell me your opinions! 

From: The darkshadow | Ben Jonson Primary School

Everyone has the option to eat what they want but those decisions should be based on actual facts. Much of the vegan propaganda is unfair and incorrect and does not portray the actual situation on UK farms. Most UK farmland is covered in grass, which our sheep, beef and dairy cattle consume and convert into meat and dairy products for us to eat. For humans, these products are far more nutritional than eating grass.

"UK farmers abide by the Five Freedoms, one of which is the freedom to display natural behaviour. That’s why in lots of barns there are toys for animals to play with, just as they would in the wild."

Sian Davies, NFU Chief Dairy Advisor

Would the earth be able to sustain everyone being vegans, would there be any environmental, economy or health problems with the vegan diet so large scale, or is the vegan diet sustainable for all? 

From: Blueleopard | Faringdon Community College

Mixed farming – a mix of livestock and crops, works here in the UK as they are interconnected. Manure and slurry from livestock farms are used to fertilise crops on arable farms; the hills in the UK are used for livestock farming ( mainly beef and sheep) with the lowland used for crops, and in many cases livestock use crops that we has humans can’t use. For example, because of our maritime (wet) climate we can’t currently grow soya, rice or almonds.

What would happen to farm animals if a whole nation became vegans?

From: CuriousKitty| Michael Faraday School

It’s likely to would have to visit a zoo or animal sanctuary to see a sheep or cow. Quite different to the iconic UK landscape that we’ve been used to for centuries– with sheep grazing the hills, and dairy cows grazing lush, green pastures. Plus what about all the people employed in livestock farming – from farmers, to sheep shearers, to vets, animal feed manufacturers, hoof trimmers - the list goes on.

We protect animals until it is time for them to die. This is not what occurs in the wild, but is it better? 

From: Tealwolf and loyalwolf | St Gregory's Primary School

Domestic farm animals are protected to some extent but in many cases they are also at risk from predators. UK farmers abide by the Five Freedoms, one of which is the freedom to display natural behaviour. That’s why in lots of barns there are toys for animals to play with, just as they would in the wild. Plus they’re kept in groups just as they are in the wild. Cows and sheep spend most of their time in the outdoors where they are at risk from wildlife such as badgers, foxes and magpies.



  1. Elaine Primary Academy Elaine Primary Academy

    Is there any negative impact on a farmers based on their economy if a large group of humans were to change their daily diet to a different one which is difficult to produce?

  2. Ravenscroft Primary School Ravenscroft Primary School

    1. If all the animals of the world disappeared, what would happen to the environment? Since we need bee to pollenate most fruits and crop, it would be scary to think if we had a world without them.

    2. If we all became vegans, would it affect the environment in any possible way?


  3. Ravenscroft Primary School Ravenscroft Primary School

    In response to St Peters primary school: I think that animals are not treated fairly when they make milk or eggs because when they get the milk or eggs from them they kill them to have beef or chicken .I think people use animals to get food and I don’t agree with that.


  4. Ravenscroft Primary School Ravenscroft Primary School

    It will affect the farmers that sell or take care of cows chickens etc. How you ask. It will affect them by most likely losing their job. And when people don’t eat cows, cows produce methane and that’s not good for environment and can cause global warming.


  5. Ravenscroft Primary School Ravenscroft Primary School

    If everyone turned vegan meat supplies would be non-existent. Does that mean farmers would not take care of their animals since they would not be needed for meat or any source of use and would just take up more space and time?

  6. Well done for joining in the discussion Burnet News Club. Sometimes, when we get answers from people they spark even more questions! Are there any other things you are curious about and would like to ask? I would love to hear what has sprung to mind as a result of Sian’s answers! Olivia