Jason Bateman Hit With Cease and Desist From PETA for Misleading Dairy Ads

For Immediate Release:
April 8, 2024

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles

“I mean, it’s one lie for the dairy industry, Michael. What could it cost—a cease and desist letter?” As major Hollywood stars face a backlash for promoting what turned out to be cryptocurrency scams, a lawyer for PETA fired off a letter to Arrested Development actor Jason Bateman informing him of the cruelty to mother cows and their calves that’s inherent in the dairy industry and calling on him to stop misleading listeners of the podcast SmartLess, which he cohosts with actors Sean Hayes and Will Arnett, by making false marketing claims on behalf of Organic Valley dairy.

Organic Valley is facing a class-action lawsuit brought by a California resident, who accuses the company of luring her into buying its products at premium prices because it falsely claims to provide cows with the “highest standards” of animal care—despite relying on the same cruel practices typical of the commercial dairy industry, including removing newborn calves from their anguished mothers. In his ad for Organic Valley featured on a recent episode of the podcast with guest John Oliver, Bateman propagates the company’s deceptive marketing claims that its products are “ethically sourced.”

“There’s nothing ‘ethical’ about artificial insemination or tearing newborn calves away from their mothers so that the milk produced for them can be sold to humans,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is calling on Bateman to stop shilling for the dairy industry and is warning consumers to recognize humane washing claims—because the reality is that the only humane milk and cheese is vegan.”

As PETA notes in its letter to Bateman, cows used by the dairy industry are forcibly inseminated repeatedly—often on what the industry itself calls a “rape rack”—to ensure a steady supply of milk, which a cow produces only after she gives birth. It’s common practice to tear their beloved newborn calves away from them shortly after birth so that the milk meant to nourish the calves—who end up in veal crates if they’re male—can be sold for human consumption. Once cows’ bodies wear out after repeated pregnancies, they’re sent to slaughter.

A PETA video shows the shocked reactions of supermarket shoppers when they’re invited to compare the marketing images used by Organic Valley and other self-proclaimed “humane” milk companies to real-life footage from standard dairy farms. Their comments include, “This is terrible,” “It’s very sad,” “Cruel,” and “It seems like it really doesn’t make too much of a difference in terms of the welfare of cows.”

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, Facebook, or Instagram.

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