‘Amanda Gorman: You Can’t Be a Dairy-Defending Feminist!’ PETA Wants Poet to Pull Out of Milk Industry–Funded Women’s Marathon

For Immediate Release:
February 1, 2024

Sara Groves 202-483-7382

Savannah, Ga.

Today, PETA sent a letter to National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman and members of the Every Woman’s Marathon advisory board—including paratriathlon champion Danielle McLaughlin and Olympic medalist Deena Kastor—pointing out that there’s no such thing as a pro–dairy industry feminist, given that calves are torn away from their mothers and that cows are artificially inseminated, among other factory farm horrors, and urging them to reconsider their support of the upcoming race sponsored by MilkPEP. PETA reports that in order to collect milk for human consumption, workers forcibly impregnate female cows repeatedly on what the industry itself calls a “rape rack.” They steal the newborn babies from their mothers—a separation that causes the animals extreme distress—within hours of birth and send the females to slaughter once their bodies break down from repeated pregnancies and hyperproduction of milk.

“Cows are severely and systematically abused on today’s factory farms, so anyone who promotes the dairy industry is turning their back on those females,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is urging Ms. Gorman to pull out of this sour stunt or risk losing the respect of fans who care about the treatment of all females.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Gorman follows.

February 1, 2024

Dear Ms. Gorman:

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally—regarding your puzzling support of the Every Woman’s Marathon. Our leadership is now and has always been made up primarily of women. I am a distance runner who competes in several marathons and 50ks a year, and I would no more drink cow’s milk at the end of a race than I would smoke a cigarette. The event sponsor, MilkPEP, is the dairy industry’s marketing arm, which promotes a hugely problematic industry that exploits females and steals newborn babies from mothers.

You and every woman enticed by the puffery of this event are being used by the dairy industry to pimp a product involving the metaphorical rape of the environment and actual rape of cows and that is linked to breast and ovarian cancer and more. Please consider these facts and withdraw from this hideous advertising event: Humans are the only species on Earth who drink milk past infancy. We aren’t meant to do so, which is not surprising when you know that approximately 70% of the human population and millions of Americans, including up to 80% of African and Latine Americans, are lactose intolerant, yet dairy industry lobbyists push milk on these populations anyway, which is making them sick. The dairy industry works very hard to suppress the mounting stack of evidence pointing to meat and dairy as cancer culprits, including the evidence that IGF-1 growth factor found in dairy products increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

Filthy factory farms are today’s dairies. Cows are its handmaidens. They produce milk only when they’re pregnant or nursing, just like human mothers. Farmers exploit the female reproductive system to keep the milk flowing. Animals on factory farms are forcibly violated sexually, which the industry calls “artificial insemination.” To impregnate a cow, she is restrained in what industry insiders have called a “rape rack” and workers jam their arms far into the cow’s rectum so as to position the uterus and then force a syringe of semen into her vagina. Rape is wrong, no matter who the victim is.

Calves are taken from their mothers, often within a day of birth so that the milk meant for them can be sold. This separation causes both the mother and baby extreme distress. Frantic mothers are known to chase after their stolen babies and can be heard calling for their calves for days. The value of a cow on a dairy farm is entirely tied to the industry’s exploitation of her reproductive system. If she can’t get pregnant and lactate, she is considered useless to the industry and is killed.

Raising animals for food requires massive amounts of land, food, energy, and water and is not something any environmentalist should support. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the production of meat, eggs, and dairy is the leading cause of ocean dead zones, water pollution, species extinction, and habitat destruction.

You stand for so much that is right, and you’re the voice of a new generation, so you must understand that all exploitation and harm done to females of any species in the name of greed is wrong. Please rethink your role in helping a wretched, cruel, environmentally damaging, and anti-woman industry promote itself via Every Woman’s Marathon. Thank you for your consideration of this urgent matter.

Lisa Lange
Senior Vice President of Communications

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