California “Happy Cows” will live to see another day.
The Happy Cows are part of a promotional program that was challenged in court by the animal-rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The program calls attention to the efforts of California dairy farmers to care for the health, comfort and welfare of their cows while acting as stewards of the environment.
More than Happy Cows, the ruling actually applies more to the current "Family Farms" campaign.
Friday, the Sacramento Superior Court for the State of California denied PETA’s claims that the promotional messages are false and misleading.
“The statements (in the promotional campaign) concern the diligence of efforts made by California dairy farmers to provide for the health and comfort of their cows,” the court’s ruling said. “In an effort to respond to consumer concerns about the care provided to dairy cows, the statements convey a message that dairy farmers work fulltime to secure the health and comfort of their cows by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living arrangements consistent with the highest animal welfare standards ― matters shown to be supported by the direct aggregated experience and knowledge of Department(of Food and Agriculture) personnel and (California Milk Advisory Board) members.”
“California dairy families take the well-being and care of their cows very seriously,” points out Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications for the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).
“The CMAB’s key responsibility is, and always has been, to market and to create a demand for California dairy products,” Giambroni says. “Through its role, the California Milk Advisory Board also contributes to creating choices for consumers around buying dairy products, and we look forward to continuing to play a role in Americans’ dairy choices.”
PETA, meanwhile, issued the following statement:
"In denying the petition, the judge excluded all the evidence from peer-reviewed scientific journals and U.S. Department of Agriculture surveys,” said David Perle, senior media coordinator for the animal-rights organization. “The evidence shows that disease and suffering is rampant — more than 30 percent of cows suffer from udder infections, painful swollen knees, and hoof disorders, such as foot rot, ulcers, and abscesses, resulting in lameness and premature death. Mortality is an increasingly severe problem on California dairy farms, and many cows don't even survive long enough to be hauled off to slaughter because they lack proper shelter and care.
“PETA is continuing a review of the judge's decision in order to determine our next step in this case,” he said.