Scots dairy farm to host vegan-friendly farm tour

A Scottish business which is considered to be the UK's largest cow with calf dairy farm is to host a new tour specifically designed for vegans and people following plant-based diets. 

Published 30th Jan 2020
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

The Ethical Dairy say the one-off event has been developed to create a ‘safe space’ where visitors with concerns about farming can ask questions directly to the farm team.

It’s part of a programme of events and workshops created by the farm and cheese maker in response to requests from members of the public for more information and hands-on experiences.

Vegan friendly farm tour

Guests will be taken around on the tour by David.

Other events will include cheese-making workshops, a morning milking viewing and a tour of the farm.

Wilma Finlay of The Ethical Dairy stated that the event is about breaking down barriers and being respectful of people's decisions to make the dietary choices they do, he said: “For example, we have many regular customers who are themselves following plant-based diets but buy dairy products for their children or partner.

“The idea behind these events is basically to share our experience, explain why we do things the way we do and, where possible, to share our skills.

Vegan friendly farm tour

David and Wilma

"We have welcomed visitors onto our farm for many years, in fact, it was feedback from those Cream o’ Galloway visitors that encouraged us to try cow with calf farming in the first place. So we are very much looking forward to running these new in-depth farm events, explaining our approach and creating a safe space where people can ask questions about our farm.”

Rainton Farm, home of The Ethical Dairy brand, committed to permanently following cow with calf farming last autumn after successfully concluding a three-year pilot.

While conventional dairy farming practice separates cows and calves within a few hours of birth, the Rainton model sees male and female dairy calves remain with their mothers for 5-6 months before being weaned.

The innovative approach to dairy farming, which is claimed to deliver environmental and animal health benefits, has attracted widespread interest, so much so that the Scottish Government recently announced funding for research into their farming system by Scotland’s rural college, SRUC.

David Finlay, who pioneered Rainton’s cow with calf farming system said: “Food production and land use has never been more political or contentious.

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For as long as the media and big commercial interests continue to whip up conflict and opposition between people who hold different points of view, agreeing a pathway to sustainability and net-zero production will be impossible. It’s time everyone started listening to each other.

“We all have a little piece of the solution to climate change, we all have lots we can learn from each other, and we all have a vested interest in the long term viability of our planet. It’s time we cut the crap, stopped the propaganda and starting working together on practical solutions to feeding our population in a climate-conscious way.”

The Farm Tour for Vegans will take place on Thursday 21st May at 11am at Rainton Farm in Dumfries & Galloway. Visitors will go on a tour of the farm led personally by David, and will have the opportunity to meet the cows and calves.

It costs £30 per person and includes a vegan lunch. Information and booking for all events at The Ethical Dairy can be found on

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Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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