Top Companies Act to End Cow Mutilations After PETA Push

Dunkin’ Brands, Chipotle, and Others Push Dairy Industry Suppliers to Address Cruel Dehorning of Calves

For Immediate Release:
February 18, 2014

Shakira Croce 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va.

Dunkin’ Brands (which owns Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins) and a number of other leading restaurant and grocery brands—including Chipotle, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, and Amy’s Kitchen—have responded to PETA’s campaign calling on companies to help phase out the shockingly cruel practice of dehorning, a painful process in which calves have their horns gouged out or their horn tissue burned out of their heads. Dunkin’ Brands has just added this issue to its corporate animal welfare policy, stating, “Dunkin’ Brands supports … breeding … [for] polled or naturally hornless cattle to eliminate the need for dehorning. … Dunkin’ Brands asks all suppliers in our supply chain to support industry-wide efforts to promote the humane treatment of cattle.”

As a result of efforts such as Dunkin’ Brands’, dairy suppliers are now beginning to change their practices. One such supplier, Aurora Organic Dairy—the largest producer of private-brand organic milk and butter for U.S. retailers, serving half of the top 10 grocery store chains in the country—started breeding exclusively with polled bulls last summer, meaning that at least half of all the offspring will be spared dehorning.

“By encouraging their suppliers to breed naturally hornless cattle, Dunkin’ Brands and other companies are helping to spare calves excruciating pain,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “That said, PETA asks consumers to save cows from all forms of suffering by simply switching to the dozens of popular vegan milks, cheeses, yogurts, and ice creams available today.”

Cows struggle desperately and cry out in pain during dehorning, which is routinely performed without giving them any painkillers. Breeding for polled cows is an established and effective industry practice that easily eliminates this painful process. A single gene determines whether or not a cow will have horns, and the polled gene is dominant over the horned gene—so a move toward a hornless population can be accomplished in just a few generations.

Celebrities who have joined in PETA’s campaign include Casey Affleck, who narrates PETA’s video exposé of dehorning, and Ryan Gosling, who has called on the National Milk Producers Federation to phase out the cruel practice.

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