Bristol

Bristol city centre cow exhibition branded 'absurd'

Vanessa Reid and two cows
Image caption Artist Nessie Reid hopes the project will "create debate" about farming and food production

An exhibition featuring two cows living in Bristol city centre for five days has been branded an "absurd publicity stunt" by animal rights campaigners.

Artist Nessie Reid's The Milking Parlour is designed to raise awareness about farming and food production.

Ms Reid is living with two pure-bred Guernsey cows in Anchor Bay, and hopes the project will "create debate".

However, Animal Aid described it as "misleading" and likely to cause "considerable stress" to the animals.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) have also criticised the exhibition.

For the duration of the show, Ms Reid will live with the cows, named Alisa and Meadow Sweet, and sleep next to them on hay bales, using a tent at night.

'Darker side of dairy'

She is conducting three public milkings a day to demonstrate "the arduous and challenging processes" involved in the production of a "very normal everyday product".

"I want people to think about where their food comes from," she said.

"The cheapness of milk to me is indicative of how we don't really value our food anymore. We don't know the farmers and we don't know their stories."

But a spokesman for Animal Aid said: "The public should certainly be educated about the realities of milk production, but this absurd publicity stunt is highly unlikely to do that.

"The public will learn nothing about the darker side of dairy, such as the fate of male calves, who are often shot in the head at just a day old."

Peta said the cows on display "will relive the nightmarish cycle of pregnancy and loss year in and year out" before later being "sent to slaughter".

Ms Reid said: "This is not a pro or anti dairy campaign. I'm an independent artist. It's about creating debate and creating dialogue."

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