Milked only by hand to the sound of sacred mantras, these garland-wearing cows could be the most pampered in the UK.
But they are producing the most expensive milk in the land, costing £1.70 per pint – nearly four times more than usual.
The animals are being reared on a farm run by Hare Krishnas meaning, as per Hindu rules, that none must come to any harm.
As a result, none will ever be slaughtered when their yield dries up.
Radha Mohan Das poses by one of the cow which produce the most expensive milk in the land, costing £1.70 per pint – nearly four times more than usual
Mechanical milking pumps are banned from the manor. Instead, milking is carried out by hand so that the cows are not distressed
Even male calves will be spared the butcher’s cleaver and not be fattened for their meat. They will live out their natural lives tilling the land and transporting food and waste around the farm.
Their comfortable existences begin at birth. Each new arrival at Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford in Hertfordshire – which was donated to the Hare Krishna movement by George Harrison – is celebrated before a naming ceremony is held several days later.
It seems like a business model doomed to failure but those producing Ahimsa Milk – Sanskrit for ‘without harm’ – believe the good karma, or perhaps cowma, that goes into their produce will win over British animal lovers.
‘This premium milk will offer consumers the chance to avoid buying from an industry which is based around slaughter and suffering and instead buy from a fresh, new, and compassionate alternative,’ said spokesman Radha Mohan Das.
‘People are prepared to pay extra for organic and more healthily produced milk and we think our products will appeal to anyone who cares about animals.
‘This premium milk will offer consumers the chance to avoid buying from an industry which is based around slaughter and suffering and instead buy from a fresh, new, and compassionate alternative,’ said Radha Mohan Das
‘Instead of taking calves away from their mothers early to yield more milk we allow them to suckle and take their fill as long as they like.
‘We also carry out all of our milking by hand because milking machines can be painful for dairy cows.
‘Sacred mantras are played whenever the cows are milked and we allow them to live out their natural lives even when their supply dries up. Normally, dairy cows are killed when they can no longer provide milk but in Hinduism cows are revered as a symbol of Mother Earth.
‘Although it won’t be the cheapest available it will be worth the cost because we will treat the cows with love and care throughout their lives.’
At present there are 44 Dairy Shorthorn cows. The females will not be given hormones to increase their yield and will produce just under 1,800 pints per week, generating a turnover of around £3,000.
A pint of milk at a supermarket normally costs around 45p.
One of the three barns in the £2.5million centre where the cows are being housed. The facility is being officially opened tomorrow by 30 priests chanting 5,000-year-old Vedic mantras
Each new calf at Bhaktivedanta Manor, near Watford in Hertfordshire – which was donated to the Hare Krishna movement by George Harrison – is celebrated before a naming ceremony is held several days later
They are being housed at a £2.5million centre, named New Gokul, which has taken five years to complete and is being officially opened tomorrow by 30 priests chanting 5,000-year-old Vedic mantras.
It has three barns, constructed from imported French oak, an ox mill for grinding grain, and a milking area, all with viewing areas for visitors.
The manor is home to 75 people, including 35 monks and nuns, as well as employees.
It was donated to the Hare Krishna movement in the early 1970s by Harrison, along with 78 acres of land including formals gardens and a lake.
It first hosted the Janmashtami festival, which celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna, in 1973 and was attended by 250 people including the ex-Beatle and Eric Clapton.
The festival is now the largest of its type in the UK and attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year.