What happens when dairy farmers are pissed off at the falling price of milk? They turn up en masse at supermarkets and buy all the milk they can find.
Amelia Lynch, a veterinary science student at the University of Glasgow, filmed a protest at a branch of Morrisons in Ayr on Monday night – the video (above) has been watched 1.7 million times.
Lynch argued on Facebook that the money farmers receive from milk sales in Morrisons and at other retailers was too low:
Currently the cost of production is between 24-28p per litre and some farmers receive only 7p per litre, I think you'll agree this is totally shocking when farmers work night and day to provide for the general public and do the best for our animals!
We cleared the shelves of all of the milk with the grand total coming to 600 pounds which was kindly donated by an anonymous source. We protested peacefully but despite this the police were called, however no action was taken due to the peaceful nature of our efforts.
All the milk was given away to people outside the shop and then the rest donated to food banks, hospices, and nursing homes.
The event was just one of several such "Milk Trolley Challenge" protests happening across the country, with similar events taking place at an Asda in Telford and Morrisons in South Gloucestershire.
Farmers in Oswestry, Shropshire, went one step further and swapped milk and water in a Morrisons store to illustrate the difference in price.
Protesting farmers – some dressed as cows – are worried about what falling prices mean for the future of the industry.
They argue that the price of milk is so low in some supermarkets that they are making hardly any money from its sale.
According to figures from the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the average price farmers receive for a litre of milk fell to 23.66p in June, a five-year low and 25% lower than in June 2014.
Meurig Raymond, president of the National Farmers Union, said: "The market situation in dairy, lamb and many other products is driving farming families to a desperate state with returns from the market failing to cover costs of production."
"Farmers have worked very hard to gain the respect and support of the public for great British food – now farmers simply want and need a fair return for years of investment."
Morrisons argues that reduced demand has created an oversupply of milk. Its commercial director, Darren Blackhurst, said in a statement:
"We try to pass on lower prices to our customers wherever possible. We do recognise, however, due to reduced global demand, that this has created an oversupply of British milk creating difficult conditions for many dairy farmers at present."
"At a constructive meeting on Wednesday with the NFU Dairy Board chairman, we confirmed that Morrisons is not accepting any further cost price decreases from our suppliers driven by the falling farm gate milk price."
Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Patrick Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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