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‘Happy Cows’? Yeah, Right!

Written by PETA | November 10, 2009

Newsflash: Cows on dairy farms aren’t happy. In fact, they are quite the opposite.

So how is it that the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) can continue to claim that the “best” cheese comes from California’s supposedly ecstatic cows?

You know the ads—the one with a handful of free-roaming, robust cows cavorting sassily under a cheerful California sky? Apparently we’re expected to believe that all cows used on dairy farms in California look like this …


theinspirationroom / CC
CA Happy Cow


… as opposed to this:


Dairy cow


In the past, we’ve had some choice words on the subject of California’s supposedly happy cows. In 2002, PETA filed suit against the CMAB for false advertising—but the California Supreme Court refused to hear the case on the grounds that as a government agency, the CMAB can’t be sued for violating California state advertising laws.*

But we kept fighting the good fight against the CMAB’s false advertising with a series of “Unhappy Cow” demonstrations and public service announcements, including a few starring the man himself, animal crusader James Cromwell. And now, on the heels of our most recent undercover investigation inside a dairy farm, the time has come to return to the trenches.

We’re filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, calling on it to make the CMAB stop lying to consumers about the way cows on dairy farms are treated. “Happy cow” ads mislead consumers into believing that California dairy cows are pasture raised, free roaming, and grass fed and live in conditions that make them “happy” (i.e., that they are well cared for, content, comfortable, and healthy). In reality, these cows are drugged up, over-milked, and denied even the most basic care. Doesn’t sound like a “happy cow” to me.

Written by Amanda Schinke

*Let’s put aside how alarming one might find the idea of a government not subject to regulation.


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  • Nemesis says:

    The Ferndale Enterprise recently had an aricle of various tests being done to find any tangible or intangible evidence of any ‘feelings’ of California cows. All cows were involved from those raised with a respectful Hindu approach to the regular dairy cow in any pasture of that area. The article had stopped after mentioning that all the cows in the ‘study’ had the same expression, indicating facial manifestations of specific feelings are deceptive. Do you know of their success using Bovine Biofeedback that they indicated was the next step or do you know any further testing? Thanks