Update: Five years after agreeing with PETA that dehorning calves is cruel and speaking out in favor of ending the practice in its supply chain, Danone North America (previously Dannon) is still permitting these painful mutilations. Simply supporting the use of polled cattle is not enough. It’s time for the company to end this barbaric practice by requiring that farmers phase out all forms of dehorning. PETA is now urging it to do just that. You can help persuade Danone North America to ban dehorning procedures by signing PETA’s petition:
Updated in February 2014:
Update: After PETA met with Dannon to talk to the company about dehorning, the yogurt giant is voicing its support for the breeding of polled, or naturally hornless cattle, paving the way for the end of dehorning in its supply chain. The company updated its website to read:
Dannon believes the use of genetic breeding programs to promote naturally hornless cattle—or “polled” cattle—will benefit the welfare of cows and the farmers who care for them by eliminating the need for dehorning. … Dannon encourages all of the farmers who directly or indirectly supply us with milk and other dairy ingredients to support efforts that promote the enhanced welfare of cattle.
PETA has also submitted a shareholder resolution to Roundy’s—which owns grocery stores Pick ‘n Save, Copps, Metro Market, and Mariano’s—asking the company to require its dairy suppliers to begin phasing out dehorning.
The following was originally published in February 2014:
Until everyone dumps dairy products, PETA is urging grocery and restaurant chains to pledge to purchase dairy products only from farms that are taking steps to phase out dehorning—a painful practice in which hot irons are used to burn off horn tissue or sharp tools are used to dig developing horns out of cows’ skulls. (Please watch the dehorning exposé that Casey Affleck narrated for PETA to learn more.) So far, several retailers, including Dunkin’ Brands (which owns Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins), have taken steps to reduce animal suffering.
Dunkin’ Brands has set a policy that supports breeding programs for “polled” (naturally hornless) cows and has asked its suppliers to support industrywide efforts to promote the humane treatment of cattle, including the use of polled cows.
Chipotle, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and Amy’s Kitchen are also working with their suppliers to phase out dehorning. Chipotle is already seeing calves born without horns—meaning they will never have to endure this cruel mutilation—in its supply chain.
Aurora Organic Dairy—the leading producer of private-brand organic milk and butter for U.S. retailers, including Costco, Safeway, and other top grocery store chains—now breeds exclusively with polled bulls, which means that new calves born on Aurora’s farms are more likely to be born without horns.
Of course, the best way to help stop dehorning and other abuse of animals is by going vegan and encouraging others to do the same.