Shocking undercover footage by animal rights campaigners shows a male calf just days old being shot in the head as it stands on a pile of rotting corpses.
The confectionery giant, which uses the Bristol farm to provide milk for 250 million bars of chocolate every year, hired the Prince’s Beaufort Hunt to shoot the calves because they are unable to give birth or provide milk.
Viva! campaigner Justin Kerswell said: “We’d hope that Prince Charles will be horrified that calves are being ripped from their mothers at just a few days old, shot in the head and then fed to the hounds. The trade in dead baby animals is fuelling the royals’ favourite hunt.”
The bodies are considered a useless by-product by the industry, to be dealt with by the Beaufort Hunt, with which Princes William and Harry have also ridden.
Cadbury’s Audrey Payne said: “The Viva! video captures an out-of-the-ordinary incident. This particular calf had a deformed leg and was taken from the farm by a licensed slaughterer from the Beaufort Hunt Kennels where he was dealt with humanely.
“Creating a market for bull calves is a challenge for the dairy industry, we are working with our farmers, suppliers and industry partners to encourage practical and humane solutions to this issue and will continue to do so. We take animal welfare very seriously.”Viva! campaigner Kat Affleck said: “Cadbury appears to be suggesting that the heart-breaking scenes we filmed of a little, uncomprehending calf being made to stand on the dead bodies of other calves before being shot in the head was just a one-off.
“How can they explain the fact that Viva! filmed on at least four other dairy farms that supply Cadbury with milk and also shoot these animals?
“One hundred thousand shots ring out on British dairy farms every year because of unwanted males. The simple truth is that there’s a calf and a half of suffering in every bar of milk chocolate.”
The undercover investigation also shows consumers the “brutal truth” behind the gruelling milking process at dairy farms.The royals used to ride out with Beaufort near Prince Charles’s Highgrove home in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, until hunting with dogs was banned in 2004.