DAIRY chiefs have attacked Peta and the vegan lobby with a hard-hitting advertising campaign of its own.
The National Dairy Council of Ireland says in an add milk is plant-based because it comes from grass-eating cows.
And in another ad it says milk made from nuts only contains one gramme of protein compared the 6.8 grammes in milk.
The fight back by the Irish dairy industry – a key part of the economy – comes after numerous Peta and vegan campaigns against dairy farming and meat eating.
But Peta, which has been accused of running many misleading advertising campaigns, has not enjoyed a taste of its own medicine and has claimed the ads are misleading.
The Dairy Council campaign is aimed at “twenty somethings” who the NDC says are being asked to switch to plant-based milk substitutes such as almond milk or soy milk for health reasons.
One of the outdoor adverts shows a young woman drinking milk and states: “Looking for a completely natural, plant-based milk? Irish cows are fed outdoors on a diet of fresh, green grass.”
The NDC is also advertising on online platforms including YouTube, with a video stating that nut milk contains 12 ingredients.
The campaign website adds nut milk has only 1g of protein compared with 6.8g in normal milk, and argues that milk is “great post-exercise”.
The NDC is also running a “milk bar” on Dublin’s trendy South William Street, giving out free coffee and milkshakes.
An NDC spokesman said: “The ‘plant-based’ reference in our advertising refers to the grass-based system of Irish dairy farming where our cows graze freely on grass-based pastures for up to 300 days a year.
“Bad science and urban myths about dairy’s fat levels, allergies and lactose intolerance are wrongly encouraging millennials to opt for trendy almond-milk lattes.”
Peta UK said the outdoor ads were designed to mislead consumers by presenting cow’s milk as “plant-based”, a term widely accepted to mean “made from plants”, such as milks made from almonds, soya or rice.
It has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland claiming that “milk squeezed out of a cow is no more plant-based than is flesh cut from her body”.
“It is wrong for the NDC to attempt to capitalise on the booming popularity of plant-based milks with this misleading and false claim,” a Peta spokesman said.