by Teresa Melnick
Translated into Spanish by Rob English
From California’s “Happy Cow” campaign, to the catchy “Got Milk?” celebrity ads, dairy product advertising is relentless in its efforts to convince consumers that its products are wholesome, nutritious, and support the iconic family farm. We are surrounded by images of contented cows, lazily munching grass in glorious green pastures. The truth is a far cry from this idyllic pastoral scene. Unfortunately, most consumers don’t know the ugly facts about the dairy industry’s treatment of cows as disposable milk producing machines. Animal activist Ashely Capp is doing something about that with the creation of a new website Milk Hurts, and her campaign, “Mothers Against Dairy.”
Capp, a writer and editor for the website A Well Fed World, explains her upcoming Milk Hurts website: “Essentially Milk Hurts is intended to become the ‘go to’ comprehensive anti-dairy resource and database with ‘Mothers Against Dairy’ as one of its campaigns and ongoing web features.” The site will be a place where people can go to find the most current, comprehensive, fact-based research on the dairy industry’s harmful effects on animals, human health, and the environment, she says.
Capp started the campaign, “Mothers Against Dairy,” when she learned of a new direction the dairy industry was taking in its advertising.
“Mothers Against Dairy was launched as a way to directly counter the aggressive surge in pro-dairy messaging from female dairy farmers (most of them mothers) that I have encountered in my dairy research over the last several years,” Capp says. “I believe this trend is no coincidence, rather, in a climate of increased criticism of dairy farming practices, it represents a strategic industry shift to put more female faces on dairy farming, and to deceptively reframe the industry as a maternal nurturing one.”
Maternal and nurturing are not adjectives Capp would use to describe the dairy industry. Calves are removed from their mothers soon after birth and fed artificially, while the mother’s milk is harvested for human consumption. This is emotionally and physically damaging for both the cow and the calf, who visibly grieve the separation. The mother is again impregnated and the whole cycle begins again.
Capp has collected compelling first- hand accounts from women who realized, after giving birth themselves, that they could no longer support an industry that callously exploits the motherhood of cows.
(The Milk Hurts website will launch later this year, but for now you can follow them on Instagram and Facebook, or go to A Well Fed World for a link to “Mothers Against Dairy”).
Teresa Melnick is a member of People for Animal Rights (PAR). You can contact PAR at P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358, (315)488-PURR (7877) between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also contact Linda DeStefano who is the President of People for Animal Rights or find more information at peopleforanimalrightsofcny.org.