Harris Teeter and Compass Group USA Take On Dairy Industry Cruelty

North Carolina Retailers Move to Favor Suppliers That Address Cruel Dehorning

For Immediate Release:
August 18, 2015

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Charlotte, N.C. – Following talks with PETA, locally based food giants Harris Teeter and Compass Group USA are joining a growing throng of retailers working to end dehorning—a procedure in which cows on dairy farms have their horns gouged out with sharp metal scoops or their horn tissue burned out of their heads. By taking a stand against the cruel practice, both retailers are paving the way for its elimination. Harris Teeter states in its newly updated animal welfare policy, “[W]e support farmers in developing successful programs for breeding polled, naturally hornless cows.” Compass Group USA also promises that it’s “committed to working with our dairy suppliers to continue to address issues related to dehorning of dairy cows and tail docking.”

As revealed in PETA’s video exposé narrated by Casey Affleck, cows struggle desperately and cry out in pain during dehorning, which is routinely performed without giving them any painkillers.

“By buying from suppliers that are breeding for naturally hornless animals, Harris Teeter and Compass Group USA can reduce the prevalence of cruel dehorning in their supply chains,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on other retailers to hop on the bandwagon and spare young cows the pain of having their sensitive horn tissue burned out of their heads.”

Other household names that have recently addressed dehorning include General Mills (with brands such as Häagen-Dazs, Yoplait, Old El Paso, Nature Valley, Cheerios, Green Giant, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, and others marketed in more than 100 countries across six continents), Starbucks, Nestlé, Aramark, Walmart, Kroger (Harris Teeter’s parent company), and Dunkin’ Brands (which owns Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins). Since PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—began working with companies on this issue three years ago, the number of polled Holstein bulls in the U.S. has increased tenfold. A recent study from Purdue University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that—in addition to sparing cows the agony of these painful dehorning and disbudding procedures—adopting polled genetics may save farmers money in labor and veterinary costs.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

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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