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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
PETA: 'Happy cows' ad is a lie

By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY

The animal rights group PETA plans to sue the California Milk Advisory Board Wednesday over its award-winning "Happy Cows" campaign. PETA says the idyllic conditions portrayed in the ads amount to false advertising.

The two-year-old campaign features talking and singing cows discussing the pleasures of life in warm, sunny California. The slogan: "Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California." The state produces 1.6 billion pounds of cheese a year, second only to Wisconsin.

The suit, which is expected to be filed in California Superior Court, says California dairy cows live on muddy, feces- and urine-soaked lots devoid of any vegetation, not on grassy hillsides as depicted in the ads.

"Our goal with the lawsuit is to let people know that if they're consuming dairy products, they're promoting cruelty to animals," PETA's Bruce Friedrich says.

Nancy Fletcher of the California Milk Advisory Board says she hasn't seen the complaint and can't comment. But she did point out that PETA filed a similar complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in April, and the FTC found that it was without merit.

The ads do portray an idealized and unrealistic view of the life of a dairy cow, but consumers know the difference between reality and fantasy, says Jim Reynolds, a professor of veterinary science at the University of California-Davis and chair of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners Animal Welfare Committee, an international association of veterinarians.

"I know when I buy a beer in a bar, I don't get two women in bikinis standing next to me," Reynolds says.

Still, a dairy cow's life isn't easy. At 2 years old the animals are artificially inseminated to keep them pregnant and producing milk. Calves are taken from their mothers within 24 hours of birth because calves drink only 1 to 3 gallons of milk a day, while modern dairy cows produce up to 10 gallons a day. The extra milk would be a potential source of infection, endangering the cow. The bull calves are either sent to veal pens or to feedlots, while the heifers are raised until they can be mated.

After three pregnancies and thousands of gallons of milk, the cows are sent to the slaughterhouse, where they're turned into hamburger and low-grade steak.

PETA, which advocates a meat- and milk-free diet, says the treatment is inhumane.

"For people who are concerned about cruelty to animals, they need to wipe dairy products off their shopping list, period," Friedrich says.

But Reynolds maintains that cows' lives aren't horrible. Forty percent to 50% of California dairy cattle are raised in dairies built in the past two to three years, in which cows are well cared for so they can produce more milk, he says.

"A new dairy would be a happy place to be a cow. They have roofs to protect from summer heat and winter rain, comfortable stalls and clean bedding," Reynolds says.

It's only in older dairies that cows might still exposed to the elements and live in the "urine- and dung-fouled dirt" referred to in the suit, Reynolds says. PETA's pictures are of such older dairies.

The suit doesn't seek a ruling on whether California cows are truly happy, but rather whether the depiction of the dairy cows' living conditions is unlawfully deceptive.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/...ppy-cows_x.htm
 

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"I know when I buy a beer in a bar, I don't get two women in bikinis standing next to me," Reynolds says.

That is exactly correct.

This is total bs. But, then again, it is PETA at the helm. I really expect nothing less.
 

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well, for the sake of clarity, i will...um...clarify. heh.

i don't like this because it seems "showy". PeTA knows and understands how our society works and how very little worth or value is ascribed to animals as living beings. they know that the lawsuit is a lost cause. they will be pouring thousands (if not more) of dollars into this when the money could be better spent on programs that actually HELP animals.

with this, and their ridiculous advertising campaigns, well...it makes me shudder. it seems to me that they are more about making a ruckus, than making real change.

i guess i just don't have much faith in the hoi polloi. most people nowadays have at least a rudimentary idea of how food animals are raised and treated. that doesn't stop them from eating meat and dairy.

and what about all the happy cartoon/cgi animated animals that are used in commercials for fast food chains, etc. is PeTA going to sue all of them too?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by VealPrincess

This is total bs. But, then again, it is PETA at the helm. I really expect nothing less.
Hey that kind of rhymed!

Here's my question - does PETA have "volunteer" lawyers? I'm not totally against this is of isn't a significant financial investment. It's good publicity for a good cause without as much ludicrous fanfare that usually accompanies a PETA project. I mean, relative to those loonies running up on stage at the Vicky-Secrets fashion show, this is quite a productive endeavor!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by VealPrincess

"I know when I buy a beer in a bar, I don't get two women in bikinis standing next to me," Reynolds says.

That is exactly correct.

This is total bs. But, then again, it is PETA at the helm. I really expect nothing less.
I think that quote from the article may be an illustration of the "reasonable person standard" oftne used in law. Would a reasonable person know absolutely without a doubt that what was presented in the ad was false? In the case of women appearing when opening a beer, sure. In this case, I don't think so, and I think that is the point PETA is making. It was also stated in the article that the humane treatment of animals has become a consideration for consumers. If so, it is doubly important that they not mislead people. I do think many are naive about industrialized agriculture.

People who donate to PETA can observe how their money is used and either continue or cease to support them. PETA has their own way of dealing with these issues, and although I disagree on much of what they do, I support this. It will educate the public.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Apple



The ads do portray an idealized and unrealistic view of the life of a dairy cow, but consumers know the difference between reality and fantasy...

"I know when I buy a beer in a bar, I don't get two women in bikinis standing next to me," Reynolds says.
I disagree. Most consumers grew up in urban and suburban areas and have no idea what farming is really like. And while it's true that few adults take ads literally, advertising does influence what people think, or else the California Milk Advisory Board woudn't bother advertising in the first place.

(I'm not a lawyer so I can't comment on the legal details.)
 

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Court throws out animal-rights suit against 'Happy Cows' ad

Quote:
A lawsuit charging that California cows aren't as happy as an ad campaign implies has been thrown out by a Superior Court judge.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had filed a lawsuit accusing the San Francisco-based California Milk Advisory Board, which is behind the "Happy Cows" ad campaign, of false advertising.

But Judge David Garcia ruled Tuesday that the government is exempt from the false advertisement laws that apply to private individuals.

The commercials show cows frolicking in green, rolling pastures, followed by the tagline, "Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California."

The milk board said it was pleased with the ruling.

"We are the largest dairy state," Nancy Fletcher, CMAB's vice president of communications, said Wednesday. "Dairy farmers in California are very proud of their commitment to deliver a wholesome product."

PETA contended that, contrary to the ads, the state's dairy cows lead miserable lives in muddy fields devoid of vegetation, and endure chemical and genetic manipulation to produce abnormally high quantities of milk.

"Ads that try to get you to believe that cows are happy when they're really miserable should not be allowed just because they are sponsored by the government," said Matthew Penzer, PETA's legal counsel. "Whether it comes from the government or from industry, it is wrong to boost sales by deceiving the public."

The suit was not PETA's first unsuccessful attack on the ad campaign. In October, the Federal Trade Commission declined to take action on a similar complaint from PETA.
http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?n...d=222077&rfi=6

I like the comment someone left at the bottom of that page...

Quote:
Cows are not Smart Enough to be happy. It is no wonder we eat them.
 

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As much as I hate those misleading ads, I can't either agree or disagree with what PETA does. I really haven't followed them much. I do think it's nice what they do, but how they do it (showy, as Kreeli said) is not the smartest, IMO.
 

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i think i am with peta here

bcuz tons of of people know whats going on behind the meat and dairy factories and that ad is just saying they are doing nothing worng to the cows the cows are happy and couldnt have a better life

maybe peta shouldnt be so showy and in your face but thier intention are right

IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Actually, this dude, Matthew Penzer, came and spoke at the law school at my university.

(Max, he is paid by PETA, but purely subsistence. Not decent wages for someone who's been through law school. Additionally, he's a bit of a nut and gives all the money he doesn't feel he needs to the cause; says it's a very gratifying lifestyle.)

The way Penzer explained the campaign made it seem pretty sensible to me. The gripe is not false advertising in the sense that PETA expects the dairy board to portray real dairy cows living in dirt lots with swollen udders, etc. The gripe is that the ad campaign is deliberately misleading. The council portrays the cows as "happy", living in green pastures alongside their calves, encouraging people to buy dairy from CA to support this humane enterprise. It's akin to nike showing happy children singing and dancing in sweatshops in China and asking consumers to buy nike to support their workers.

Too bad it got voted down, I thought PETA really had a point this time.
 

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I disagree, Drew. This was one of their few campaigns that was not only necessary, but right on the money.

I want to vomit every time I see one of those "Happy Cow" commercials. I live in California, and I'm disgusted by the lies.
 

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I think there are a LOT of people who think that dairy cows are happy, grazing on grass and spending their time in the happy outdoors.

All you have to do is drive through Tillamook County here in oregon to confirm that belief (yes, we have a lot of dairy farms here, and as you drive from portland to the coast, most of the cows are out grazing in the grass & appearing to be quite comfortable). My roommate is from WI and she recalls seeing the same thing there. So it's not surprising that those are the images we recall when we think of dairy farms - simply because we don't SEE the nasty muck that most cows are forced to spend their time in.

I'm glad that PETA has brought this issue forward; hopefully some curious people will actually see if PETA's claims have any truth to them and realize that dairy farms are a disaster.

amy
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I must say I agree, I am A supporter of PETA but I must say that lately I have noticed that they do tend to ham it up. However I believe that they do so for the media attention and to put themselves out there and make people really think about the issue at hand and look into it more. Bottom line, I think they just want people to be aware of all the details no matter how big or little they may be. To me A good cause is A good cause and though their out there tactics seem a little pushy at times, at least their doing something to make a difference. Without being overly judgemental, there are plenty of people who are "for the cause" but do nothing but criticize the way the other person is doing something.

p.s. EP did I mis-spell anything? lol :p
 

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Elyssa,

Ha-ha, first of all. I know I can be anal about spelling, but for good reason.

Second, On MBs, I don't really care, for the record. But in letters to corporate CEOs, politicians, and the like, spelling, grammar, syntax and all the tools in our language arsenal are absolutely vital if we want to compete for their hearts and minds on that level. Any basic mistakes that might betray ignorance or lack of education (true or not) automatically discredits an author in the eyes of the reader, and they are such easy mistakes to correct.

Activists in particular need to be the most educated, most persuasive people out there if they want to convince people they know what they're talking about, because they are constantly having to prove themselves to the majority. We have to watch for anything that can be used to dismiss your argument, even something as simple as poor spelling.
 
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