A FAMILY featured in a television series looking at what we know about the animals we eat have been reunited with the calves they saved from slaughter.

Dad Steffan, mum Nicky, daughters Manon and Lleucu, and son Osian visited the Dean Farm Trust animal sanctuary, in Chepstow, ahead of the final Channel 4 programme, Meat The Family.

The show saw four families keep chickens, piglets, lambs, and calves at their homes.

After caring for them for around three weeks, all families except the Barry family sent the creatures away to be returned to them as food.

Osian has become vegan.

He said: “It was really interesting to see how much the cows had grown – especially because I hadn’t seen them for half a year.

“The interactions of the cows with other animals was also really interesting; they’ve gained so much confidence

“I could definitely tell they could recognise me – they definitely remembered us.

“They were a lot more happy to come to us and more comfortable to be around us.

“I learned a lot - especially all the different aspects as to why people would go vegetarian or vegan.

“I was very convinced by the ethical reasons particularly after seeing videos of how intelligent cows are.

“It also taught me a lot about the environment.

“We went to Barcelona and there they don’t just eat a small part of the animal, but all of it – which is much better for the environment.

“Since the programme, I’ve been on a couple of climate change demonstrations with my sister Lleucu.

“It really opened my eyes to what’s happening to the planet.

“In addition, I now eat a vegan diet – I think it’s healthier for me too.

“My family has also made a lot of changes – although my dad has not yet gone vegetarian – he’s made a difference to what he eats and buys.

“He eats more ethically sourced meat and fish and has a much more plant-based diet now.

“Both my sisters, Lleucu and Manon, are vegetarian and Manon is doing Veganuary.

“Mum has changed from being pescatarian to vegetarian and I’m really proud of her.”

Lleucu said: “It was wonderful to be reunited with the calves after such a long time

“They had grown so much and I’m so relieved and grateful that they were looked after so well at Dean Farm Sanctuary,

“I am now vegetarian.

“I’d like to think they remembered us – I just loved them so much and remember them running around in our garden – I wish they could still be there, but of course they’re so big now.

“It’s great to know that they’re free to run around the fields near Chepstow and that we can visit them again soon.

“I learned that we as people don’t necessarily associate our food with the animals they come from.

“Through the programme I learned that all the different animals have their own personalities and traits and that there is no black and white answer to the question of whether meat is good or bad for the environment.

Dad-of-three, Steffan added: “Seeing Tomos and Bedwyr was wonderful – they really are very affectionate and comfortable.”

“This series has already succeeded in making people ask questions of how they’re affecting the planet and its inhabitants.”

Dean Farm Trust director, Mary Frankland, vegan since 2004, said the nine-month-old calves Tomos and Bedwyr were now called Buttercup (Guernsey cross) and Clover (Jersey) living in the sanctuary’s six-acre field with two barns.

The sanctuary has 210 animals - hens, turkeys, goats, pigs, donkeys, ponies, sheep, ducks, rabbits, cows - and has two full time staff, plus casual staff and 25 volunteers

She said: “They have settled in very well and now live in a herd with 10 Friesian calves who are a little younger than them

“They eat grass, calf feed, hay and bits of apple for a treat and they play, get up to mischief, chase each other, lick you, chew your clothes and love human company

They live with piggies and they will also meet our sheep and ponies in the Spring

“They are both very inquisitive.

“Clover was very timid when he first arrived, but since he’s moved in with the Friesians his confidence has grown and he is very much in charge even though he is smaller.

“Buttercup is so cuddly always loving head rubs, very gentle and playful.”

She added: “I think the programme was promoting the consumption of “high welfare animals”.

“I think it was biased and did not show the true and full story or the reality of raising and slaughtering of farmed animals.

“It gave no support or advice on a plant-based diet to these families but gave them “high welfare” animals to eat.

“It’s a real shame they missed a great opportunity.

“I think to use animals as entertainment is wrong and gives the wrong message.

“The only positive is that one family made a connection and used their power to save these beautiful cows.

“I am so grateful that Steffan and his family saved these two calves.”

She added: “The reason I set up the sanctuary was to save animals in need and for people to come and connect with our animals and promote compassionate living.

“Last year we had over 2000 visitors from the UK and Abroad.

“Looking into the eyes of our sheep and cows many visitors made a connection and saw them as beautiful animals and no different to their pets.”

For further information, visit deanfarmtrust.org.uk/animal-sanctuary