THE DAIRY industry is furious at the organisation Go Vegan World for launching a controversial pro-vegan campaign.
The “humane milk is a myth” campaign, launched last February, has been branded as irresponsible and misleading by the dairy industry. Many feel that the claims made by the campaign cannot be substantiated.
The advertisements included in national newspapers offer a first person account of someone visiting a dairy farm. It describes the distress of calves separated from their mothers soon after birth. But the dairy industry is adamant that the advertisement did not accurately describe the way that dairy cattle were generally treated in the UK.
In spite of the outcry from the dairy industry, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the campaign was not in violation of advertising regulations.
NFU dairy board chairman Michael Oakes said the farmers’ union was “angry” and “disappointed” with the ruling and felt let down by the ASA.
“In our view, Go Vegan World’s poster presents an inaccurate representation of the British dairy industry and, therefore, has the potential to mislead the public”.
“Animal welfare standards in the UK’s dairy industry are the highest possible,” he said. “I am a dairy farmer and what I do all day is look after animals who in turn look after me. Their wellbeing is my priority.”
Oakes went on to express his frustration over the fact that the ruling came during the Brexit negotiations. He worries that the decision will have a damaging impact on the global reputation of Britain’s farming industry, which is known for having impeccable animal welfare regulations.
Go Vegan World was set up in memory of a dead hen, but Oakes believes that it is British farmers who are more deserving of consumers’ support in this politically uncertain time.
The campaign’s founder Sandra Higgins – who commented that “dairy is inherently inhumane” – clearly feels no concern for the livelihoods of farmers that are dependent upon the dairy industry.