PETA Asks School for Equal Time to Counter Dairy Council Whitewash

Youth Group Aims to Set the Record Straight About Cruel, Unhealthy Milk Industry

For Immediate Release:
December 2, 2013

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

San Bernardino County, Calif.

This morning, a representative of TeachKind, PETA’s humane-education division, sent a letter to Principal Todd Flowers of Kingsbury Elementary School in Redlands, offering to dispatch staff of PETA Kids, PETA’s youth division, to give students a kid-friendly presentation on the true story of how milk gets from cows into their cereal bowls. The offer is in response to a scheduled December 2 visit to the school by the Dairy Council of California’s mobile dairy classroom, which includes carting live cows to the school. What the council doesn’t tell the children about is the extreme suffering of cows and their babies in the dairy industry and the fact that milk and other dairy products can cause a variety of serious illnesses and conditions, including heart disease, type 1 diabetes, and even acne.

“Kids deserve to know where their food comes from—and who might have suffered every day of their lives to produce it,” says Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “The Dairy Council of California is notorious for whitewashing the cruelty inherent in the milk industry, and we want to do kids the potentially lifesaving favor of telling them the facts.”

In the letter, TeachKind points out that cows used for their milk are genetically manipulated and given antibiotics and hormones that force them to produce more than four times the amount of milk they would naturally. Their babies are torn away from them shortly after birth—females are cycled into milk production, and males are relegated to cruel veal crates. The cows are repeatedly and painfully impregnated, and up to half of them suffer from a painful udder infection called “mastitis.” TeachKind suggests to Flowers that the children be encouraged to choose humane and healthy options, such as soy, almond, and other delicious plant-based milks.

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PETA’s letter to Kingsbury Elementary School Principal Todd Flowers follows.

Dear Principal Todd Flowers,

My name is Nina, and I’m writing from TeachKind, PETA’s humane education division. We work with teachers and schools around the country to help promote kindness to animals. Recently, we heard from a concerned teacher that Kingsbury Elementary School is hosting an assembly on the dairy industry presented by the Dairy Council of California. I’m sure that you will agree that young people should be aware of all aspects of food production and receive a balanced perspective, which is why we ask that our youth division be given equal time to educate your students on facts that the Dairy Council neglects to share regarding health concerns linked to consuming dairy products as well as the truth about how cows exploited for milk are really treated.

Most cows used in the dairy industry are forced to live in cramped, filthy conditions, often surrounded by their own waste, and are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. Once their milk production wanes, at about only 4 or 5 years old, they are sent to slaughter to be killed. Virtually all cows used for their milk are genetically manipulated and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones that force them to produce 4.5 times the amount of milk that they would produce naturally. These cows are treated as nothing more than milk machines—they endure a constant cycle of being forcibly impregnated, only to give birth and have their calves torn away from them within hours. Instead of nursing their babies, cows used for their milk are hooked up to painful milking machines several times a day.

Ditching dairy products is not only a humane choice but also a healthy one. Dairy consumption is directly linked to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and strokes. It’s the number-one source of allergies and is also linked to juvenile-onset diabetes. Dairy products are loaded with artery-clogging cholesterol and saturated fat, whereas fortified nondairy milks contain high levels of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and vitamin B12—without the hormones, cruelty, and other drawbacks of dairy products.

As an educational institution, it’s imperative that you present your students with knowledge that will enable them to make healthy and compassionate choices. We would love to schedule a visit to Kingsbury Elementary School sometime in the weeks following the Dairy Council’s assembly to give a kid-friendly presentation on the true lives of cows in the dairy industry and present your students with the other side of the story to help them understand how cow’s milk really ends up in their cereal.

For the sake of your students’ health and animals’ lives, we hope you’ll consider giving us equal time to present this issue to your students. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Nina Kahn,
TeachKind Coordinator
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

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