Whitby’s Dairy Girls march on London in price protest

editorial image

A group of farmers’ wives caused a stir when they led a cow and two sheep to Downing Street as part of a protest march.

The North Yorkshire and Cleveland Dairy Girls travelled to London last week to take part in the Farmers for Action demonstration against low milk prices. Around 1,400 farmers and their families marched from Trafalgar Square and along Whitehall to Number 10.

Many protesters wore cow onesies and a pantomine cow took part along with a Jersey cow and calf and a pair of sheep from a city farm. The marchers fear that many small farms will go out of business this year unless supermarkets pay suppliers more for produce.

“It was a good turn-out considering this is a busy time of year and also that most farmers have to travel a long distance to get to London,” said Dairy Girls member Barbara Welford, who was joined by local farmers Judith, Emma and Andrea Chapman and Angela Hutchinson.

“It was a good-natured event which was intended to represent all sectors of farming. There were a lot of cow onesies in evidence as well as some more traditional tweeds!

“The march was led by a very well-behaved Jersey cow and calf; the animals were all trained and unperturbed by the noise around them. The route went to the gates of Downing Street where a small delegation went in to deliver a petition. The marchers left standing outside made a lot of noise.”

The Dairy Girls also hoped to raise awareness of city dwellers’ dependence on farming.

“Many farmers feel increasingly desperate and frustrated as a result of the current low prices for commodities. The march was an attempt to bring this to the attention of the government. As one of the placards said, ‘you need a farmer three times a day, for breakfast, lunch and supper’”, added Barbara.