Please, Gov. Cuomo: Supporting Dairy Is in Bad Taste, Says PETA

Group Asks Governor to Help Farmers Shift to Plant-Based Milk, Not Spend $25 Million on Cholesterol- and Fat-Laden Cow’s Milk

For Immediate Release:
April 30, 2020

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Albany, N.Y.

This morning, PETA dispatched a letter urging Gov. Andrew Cuomo to reconsider his recently announced plan to buy $25 million worth of cow’s milk from upstate farmers, who’ve been throwing away the products they can’t sell because of the drop in consumer demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PETA points out that cow’s milk is cruel to cows, who are forcibly impregnated and whose calves are taken from them. It’s also one of the primary causes of food allergies among children and indigestible by a majority of adults. In addition, it presents a public health risk, as it’s full of cholesterol and fat—not to mention that mad cow disease and other deadly outbreaks have been linked to using cows for food.

“The dairy industry is already heavily subsidized, unhealthy, and extremely cruel, and many consumers don’t want anything to do with it,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is calling on Governor Cuomo to help farmers transition to making the healthy plant-based milk that New Yorkers actually want to buy.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit

PETA’s letter to Gov. Cuomo follows.

April 30, 2020

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York

Dear Gov. Cuomo,

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including hundreds of thousands across New York, I’m writing in response to your Nourish New York initiative. While we applaud you for taking action to support New York’s food banks and for your leadership during the current crisis, will you please reconsider using funding to support the already heavily subsidized, unhealthy, and extremely cruel dairy industry? That wouldn’t be a good move. What people need to stay strong and healthy is not cholesterol- and fat-laden dairy milk but encouragement to keep growing the market for plant-based milks, yogurts, and cheeses.

We have exposed stunningly cruel conditions on dairy farms all around the world, and at one New York facility that supplied Cabot Creamery—one of the companies involved in your initiative—PETA documented that workers beat cows with poles and a cane and burned off calves’ sensitive horn tissue, leaving them screaming in pain. As you may know, mother cows produce milk only during and after pregnancy, so they are forcibly impregnated over and over again to ensure that they maintain a steady supply of milk—only to see their beloved babies taken away from them within hours of birth. Cows are intelligent, sensitive animals who, just like human mothers, form close bonds with their young. They’ve been known to search for miles and chase after vehicles, hoping to be reunited with their calf, and have even hid calves so that they wouldn’t be taken away. They have been known to cry out in distress for weeks after their babies have been torn away from them.

Besides humans and some domesticated cats, no species drinks the milk of another species or drinks milk beyond infancy. Cow’s milk is one of the primary causes of food allergies among children, and millions of Americans—approximately 65% of the population—are lactose intolerant. Dairy has been linked to acne, bloating, constipation, and ear infections, and by comparison, vegan soy-based drinks pack the same amount of protein as cow’s milk but have 6 fewer grams of sugar as well as 2 grams of fiber (as opposed to none in dairy milk). Studies have shown that milk from cows does not build strong bones or deliver many of the other health benefits that the dairy industry has promoted in misleading advertising for decades.

The current health crisis originated in a meat market. Others, such as swine flu, avian flu, mad cow disease, SARS, Ebola, and even AIDS, have also arisen from using animals for food. The next pandemic that emerges because of animal agriculture is not a matter of if but when.

Considering that 36% of U.S. consumers now prefer nondairy items to their dairy counterparts—an amount that is growing daily—we hope you’ll reconsider this program and instead encourage struggling dairy farmers to make the switch to plant-based milks, as Elmhurst in Elma, New York, has done. You could also create a fund that would provide schoolchildren and food banks around the state with healthier, plant-based milks. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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