‘Happy Cows’? Yeah, Right!

Published by PETA.

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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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind