‘Humane’ Milk? Shoppers’ Honest Reactions to Dairy Farm Videos: ‘That’s Pretty F**ked Up’

Published by Katherine Sullivan.

Thanks to revelations like PETA’s undercover investigation into pig farm Sweet Stem Farm, many people know now that “happy” meat is a lie. Another PETA investigation and a subsequent landmark lawsuit showed consumers that for the hens whose sensitive beaks are still cut off with a hot blade and for the male chicks who are still shredded alive in a high-speed industrial grinder, buzzwords like “free range” are far less meaningful than the egg industry would have you believe. But what about “humane” milk? To gauge consumers’ understanding of the dairy industry’s humane-washing ploy, we showed shoppers outside a Whole Foods real, industry-standard footage showing what it’s like for cows whose milk is stolen from them on farms that purport to have higher ethical standards. Watch for yourself:

As you can see, tearing babies away from their mothers can never be a “humane” practice. To assume that it’s OK for a human to steal the milk that these mothers make for their calves is a speciesist notion—that is, it’s ignoring others’ interests in not being exploited, deprived, and manipulated, simply because they’re different from us. And as the shoppers in the video agree, it’s “pretty f**ked up” and it’s got to stop.

“She was just delivering a baby!” one passerby exclaimed. “Stop. Let the mothers feed their babies,” another said when asked what she’d like to tell “humane” dairy farms.

Of animals used for food, more than 99% are raised on factory farms, many of which can use labels like “humane” but still subject animals to hideously cruel industry standards: artificial insemination, severe crowding, physical mutilation without painkillers, udder infections and other illnesses and injuries, and a terrifying death. (That’s right—cows used for dairy are eventually killed for meat. If you’re a milk-drinking, cheese-eating vegetarian, you support the meat industry.) When it comes to dairy, the only humane option is not consuming it—and the only milk labels you should look for are ones that say, “vegan” or “plant-based.”

Were You Duped by ‘Humane’ Milk Claims? Let Us Know

If you bought milk, cheese, or other dairy “products” advertised with “humane” logos, slogans, or images of cows on lush green pastures and believe that you were misled about the true nature of these items, we want to hear from you. You have a right to know what you’re buying and consuming. Please contact us to share your concerns by using the form below:

All fields in bold are mandatory.

FormBuilder Form - 3965
First name
Last name
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What brand(s) of milk do you feel misled you?
What marketing terms or images do you feel misled you?
How many times have you purchased this type of milk?
When did you last purchase this type of milk?
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
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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