Wisconsin's license plate slogan "America's Dairyland" would be changed to "America's Cow Hell" if the animal-rights group PETA had its way.
"Today's factory farms are hell on Earth for animals and shouldn't be celebrated on Wisconsin license plates," says PETA campaign coordinator Lindsay Rajt. "People who care about cows shouldn't be forced to use their cars as free advertising for an industry that forcibly impregnates cows and then tears their babies away and locks them up in veal crates for the remainder of their short lives."
PETA has sent the following letter to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle:
June 29, 2009
The Honorable Jim Doyle
Governor of Wisconsin
Dear Governor Doyle:
On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our thousands of members and supporters across Wisconsin, I am writing to ask you to endorse an alternative to the ubiquitous "America's Dairyland" license plate out of respect for the many Wisconsinites who do not wish to support animal abuse on factory farms. Instead of the "America's Dairyland" slogan with the quaint barn in the background, we'd like to see a new license plate that reads, "Wisconsin: America's Cow Hell" and has a more realistic image, perhaps depicting sick cows in a cramped, filthy factory-farm shed.
The dairy industry is far from the romanticized fairy tale of Old MacDonald's Farm that milk companies want consumers to envision. In real life, thousands of cows are forced to live in barren, severely crowded factory-farm feedlots, where they spend their days mired in mud and their own feces. Most factory-farmed cows suffer from a painful udder infection called mastitis, which is exacerbated by filthy conditions and the growth hormones that farmers routinely give to cows so that they will pump out milk like machines, not mammals. Of course, cows only produce milk during and after pregnancy, so to force them to keep giving milk, they are repeatedly impregnated using what farmers call a "rape rack." Their calves are taken away shortly after birth; most calves spend their short lives confined to veal crates, unable to move. After several years of milk production, the cows' worn-out bodies are ground up and turned into hamburgers. In addition to causing immense animal suffering, the dairy industry is a leading contributor to climate change as well as air and water pollution in the Badger State.
Caring and informed Wisconsinites are increasingly making the compassionate choice to go vegan; these kind folks are dismayed that their vehicles are being used as free advertising space for the cruel dairy industry. Please encourage the legislature to create an alternative license plate that provides an accurate depiction of this abusive and environmentally destructive industry. Madison-based Alliance for Animals (AFA) has produced a sticker that can be placed over "America's Dairyland" until the permanent "America's Cow Hell" plate is available. Attached is a photograph showing the sticker on a car owned by PETA staffer/AFA member Jackie Wochos. Wisconsin residents can order a license plate sticker at AFA's Web site.
Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk
Source: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)