“Dragons’ Den” star Deborah Meaden is helping dairy farms turn vegan.
The British businesswoman partnered with the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) UK. The organization launched a campaign to get dairy farmers to stop milking cows in favor of plants.
As part of a competition, dairy farmers can enter for a chance to win a 15-minute, one-on-one business consultation via Zoom with Meaden. Applications have until August 10 to apply. PETA UK will reveal the winner shortly thereafter.
The organization will pick one winner “based on their motivation and enthusiasm for making the transition from dairy farming to growing plants and their compelling and thoughtful use of the written word to convey this.”
Dairy farmers who apply will also have a chance to win a half-day professional consultation with agriculture experts from Tolhurst Organic—an organic vegetable farm in the UK. The experts will teach the farmer how to successfully make the transition from dairy farming to growing organic vegetables.
Dairy Farmers Are Struggling
A shift to plant-based milk could be the saving grace for Big Dairy, which is currently on the decline.
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the consumption of milk has dropped by 40 percent since 1975. And in 2018, milk sales plummeted by $1.1 billion, according to the Dairy Farmers of America.
Due to declining dairy sales, a number of major milk producers have been forced to close down. In the US, more than 3,200 dairy farms were shuttered last year. Nearly 3,000 farms were closed the previous year. Dean Foods—America’s largest milk producer—filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2019. The company said its mounting debts were due to its declining milk sales.
Although milk is losing favor among many, some still support the dying dairy industry. A number of “Dragons’ Den” fans—and apparent milk enthusiasts—took to Twitter to voice their outrage over Meaden’s partnership with PETA UK.
“As a fan of Dragons Den, I’m sickened she is using her influence to partner with a group who want to shut down farming families who feed the world in a sustainable way,” one user wrote. To which Meaden responded: “Odd I see my part in this as supporting Farmers. We seem to be viewing different ends of the telescope.”
Meaden says she’s proud to partner with PETA UK. “It takes vision to look beyond the now and the familiar but success demands that of us every day,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I look forward to working with a Farmer who does just that. And help them reap the rewards,” she added.