Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about a recent lawsuit against ice cream makers Ben & Jerry. Ben & Jerry’s owners are liberals who very openly support liberal causes. Their advertising claims that in harmony with their ideas about the humane treatment of animals ans the environment, their ice cream is made from milk from happy cows. I never really considered the emotional well being of the cows that supplied the milk for my ice cream, but I suppose it is a somewhat valid concern. Well, evidently all of the milk does not come from happy cows.
The article reports:
Since most of this week in Washington is already shaping up to be a festival of the ridiculous, we may as well toss a few more logs on the bonfire. Up in Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s, the famously liberal ice cream company, is being taken to court over fraudulent advertising, along with its parent company, Unilever. But this suit has nothing to do with the quality or safety of their product. An environmentalist is suing them because of their advertisements claiming that their creamy products are made from milk from “happy cows.” Not so, says the plaintiff! Apparently, many of the cows are simply miserable.
Ben & Jerry’s and parent company Unilever are being sued for false advertising by an environmental advocate who claims the milk and cream used to make flavors like Phish Food are deceptively marketed as coming from “happy cows.”
In a complaint filed Oct. 31 in federal court in Burlington, Vermont, where Ben & Jerry’s was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers accuses the company and Unilever of deceiving consumers who buy the ice cream because of its pastoral and progessive image.
“During the past several years, Unilever has breached consumer trust by representing the Ben & Jerry’s Products as being made with milk and cream sourced exclusively from “happy cows” on Vermont dairies that participate in a special, humane “Caring Dairy” program,” the lawsuit claims.
The complaint alleges that less than half of the milk used is from the “Caring Dairy” program.
The article explains the program (and the problem):
USA Today looked into the question and found that the Caring Dairy program is indeed real. In order to qualify, farms have to follow certain regulations for how the cows are raised and what sort of environmental “carbon footprint” the operation has. But it’s not all that large, with only 65 farms in the Netherlands and the United States qualifying.
Even if Ben & Jerry’s had cornered the market on all of them, they probably wouldn’t produce enough milk to meet their needs. The company claims they “hope” to work with more farms like these going forward, but it certainly sounds as if they’re not using 100% “happy cow” milk. So maybe the plaintiff is correct.
I am strongly in favor of treating animals humanely. However, I also believe that animals are not people. What we need here is a sense of balance.