Dairy Biz’s ‘Milk Drive’ Under Fire for Role in Sucking California Dry

PETA Asks Milk Promo Program to Send Water, Not Water-Guzzling Dairy Products, to California Residents

For Immediate Release:
September 25, 2014

Alexis Sadoti 202-483-7382

Bakersfield, Calif. – This morning, PETA sent a letter calling on the dairy industry’s Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) to switch from sending water-guzzling milk to sending water to California residents whose wells have dried up because of the state’s drought. California has already allocated $500,000 to send residents drinking water, while fat-cat organization MilkPEP has solicited “donations” for a self-serving milk drive in which more than 5,000 gallons of milk—one of the biggest drains on California’s water supply—have been sent to food banks in the state.

As PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or to abuse in any other way”—notes, it takes an estimated 1,000 gallons of water to produce a single gallon of cow’s milk, and last year, cows on dairy farms in California required an estimated 4.79 trillion gallons of water. Nearly half a million cows are used to produce milk in Tulare County alone, which is at the epicenter of the California drought.

“Soliciting donations to send their product, milk, to California residents worsens the drought and lines the milk industry’s pockets,” says PETA Executive Vice President (and California resident) Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on the ‘milk drive’ to stop sending out milk immediately and send out 5 million gallons of water, complete with PETA’s educational labels, since that is what it takes to produce the 5,000 gallons of milk it’s already distributed.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.


PETA’s letter to MilkPEP CEO Julia Kadison follows.


September 25, 2014


Julia Kadison
Chief Executive Officer
Milk Processor Education Program


Dear Ms. Kadison:

I am writing as a concerned California resident on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our hundreds of thousands of members across the state to ask you to take meaningful action for people in need. Exploiting the critical hunger problem to boost profits under the guise of feeding the hungry is one of the oldest and most transparent tricks in the book.  The Great American Milk Drive is disgraceful for this reason and another: It’s contributing to another humanitarian crisis—the California drought. Since more than 5,000 gallons of milk have already been sent to food banks in California, we urge you to send 5 million gallons of water, complete with these educational labels, to desperate California residents to recover the water lost in the production of this milk.

Here’s the math: The California dairy industry is sucking our state dry. It takes an estimated 1,000 gallons of water to produce a single gallon of cow’s milk. That same amount of water could produce 20 gallons of soy milk. Tulare County alone, which is ground zero for the California water shortage, has nearly 500,000 cows on dairy farms. It is no surprise that hundreds of homes there no longer have running water. In addition to worsening drought conditions, cow’s milk is the number one food allergy in young children, the very people you are purportedly trying to help. People in need would be much better off if food banks were given a steady supply of fortified soy milk, as it contains high levels of calcium, protein, and vitamin D but none of the cholesterol and hormones in dairy milk.

To help inform residents about the dairy industry’s use of enormous amounts of water, we will gladly send you our specialized bottle labels for placement on an emergency supply of water to those who live in the heart of California dairy land and whose wells have dried up. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.


Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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