ANIMAL activists targeted a Dorset dairy farm today over what it claims are 'concerns for the welfare of cows'. 

A total of 30 members of the Animal Rising group descended on Grange Dairy in East Chaldon, near Winfrith, at about 7am this morning.

The activists were previously responsible for disrupting the Grand National earlier this year as the group calls for a 'national conversation about our broken relationship with animals and nature'.

The Dorset farm is owned by J.F Cobb & Sons and supplies milk to retail giant Marks & Spencer.

Animal Rising said its members have been 'comforting' calves at the farm which they say are being housed in 'pens' and 'isolated from each other'.

A spokesman also alleged that cows are being kept from grazing. He added that activists would be there for most of the day as talks with farm managers continue.

The group is also asking the farm to release a calf to be rehomed in a sanctuary today 'as a sign of good faith'.

It said that 'very constructive talks are happening' regarding this - but the farm said it will not be allowing any calves to leave as it 'would risk compromising the welfare' of the animals.

Grange Dairy was previously targeted by activists Animal Equality UK back in 2017. 

Ben Newman, an Animal Rising member at the farm today, said: “Just like every other animal in farms across the UK, the baby cows here just want to be free and live without the threat of being slaughtered for food or repeatedly impregnated so they produce milk.

"The dairy industry - indeed all of animal farming - is not working for any of us, farmers included.

"Exploiting these animals for our own purposes is hurting us, it’s hurting our environment, destroying our rivers, and it’s killing billions of innocent individuals each year.

"We need a safe and secure food system and that can only come once we all truly consider how to mend our shattered connection with all animals and create a world that is kinder to us all.”

Animal Rising said it is 'trying to begin a dialogue' with the farming industry to create a 'safe and secure plant-based food system', alongside a mass rewilding programme, where land is restored to nature.

J.F Cobb & Sons said in a statement: “We can confirm that we have several animal activists on our farm today.

"As a family-run dairy farming business, the welfare of our animals is our number one priority and, as well as working closely with our vets, we are regularly audited by Red Tractor and RSPCA Assured to ensure we meet stringent standards of animal care. 

"Our farms operate within the top five per cent of all animal health and welfare metrics in the UK, and the UK is a world leader in cattle welfare.

"We are in dialogue with the activists but can confirm that we will not be allowing them to remove any calves from the farm as we believe that would risk compromising the welfare of these young animals.”