Prince Charles criticises ‘madness’ of milk prices
The Prince of Wales has spoken out in defence of under-pressure British dairy farmers during a visit to the West yesterday.
Charles attacked as “madness” the low cost of milk in supermarkets, and criticised the overuse of antibiotics on cattle to “increase yields and cover up bad management”, while visiting the Duchy.
Speaking to staff at Dairy Crest’s creamery in Davidstow, Cornwall, where he started production of a charity-fundraising Diamond Jubilee cheddar, he praised it for paying its farmers higher prices for milk than others, adding: “It seems like madness that it costs more to buy a litre of water in a supermarket than a litre of milk. Much more needs to be done to put the dairy sector, especially small and medium-sized firms, on a firm footing.”
Many dairy farmers are going out of business across the country because it costs more to rear and maintain cattle than they receive for their milk from supermarkets.
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It is one of the things which has led the Government to look at the idea of introducing a “supermarket tsar” to ensure producers receive a fair deal.
Turning to the use of antibiotics in dairy farming, which has been blamed for helping the evolution of so-called “superbugs”, Charles said the problem was “coming home to roost with a vengeance”.
“When used correctly they can be crucial for animal health,” he said.
“But it cannot be right to use them to increase yields and cover up poor management.”
While at Davidstow, Charles poured the first live culture into a vat of milk which will become a limited edition Diamond Jubilee cheddar. Just 15 tonnes of the cheese will go on sale in Waitrose and Marks and Spencer stores in just over a year’s time, with all profits going to his Countryside Fund.
Known for his environmental interests Charles, whose home is at Highgrove near Tetbury, in Gloucestershire, also unveiled the dairy’s Â£4.2 million biomass boilers, which will be used to dry the whey by-product of cheesemaking, used in products including Mars bars.
The largest of its type outside a power station in the UK, it will also produce the water used to clean all areas of the site and lower its carbon footprint by 22,000 tonnes per year. While doing so he called on British industrial businesses to use more green technology in their processes to lower their carbon footprint.
Prince Charles attacked as “madness” the low cost of milk in supermarkets, and criticised the overuse of antibiotics on cattle