Lifeway added another want to its list of labels this week, after PETA announced the kefir maker is publicly preferring polled cattle. On its website, Lifeway added a section that mentions polled cattle, in addition to previous claims they publicize on their packaging and website.
Some of those claims came under fire after blogger and Dairy Herd Management columnist Carrie Mess, of DairyCarrie.com, pointed out that Lifeway Foods was lying about the milk they received. Mess knew this because her farm sent milk to the plant owned by Lifeway. (READ: Lifeway is lying about our farm - http://dairycarrie.com/2014/10/06/lifewaykefir/) The company was calling it Guernsey-derived and grass-fed, which Mess disputed. Lifeway promptly cut ties with Mess" co-op days after the blog post.
As of this week, Lifeway"s animal welfare statement on its website says they only use milk from grass fed cows without artificial hormones, proper grazing systems, and "responsible dehorning practices."
The majority of their animal welfare statement is now about polled cattle:
"While the practice of dehorning is necessary for the protection and welfare of the cows and the farmers who work with them, we believe polled breeding is a viable future option, eliminating the need for dehorning. We ask that strong consideration be given to promoting the polled option as a sustainable alternative to dehorning throughout your dairy supply chain. Until such time as polled dairy cattle herds are dominant, Lifeway supports the adoption of best management practices, including procedure timing and the use of analgesics and/or anesthetics for dehorning."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) touted the change as a victory for the organization.
As of noon Wednesday, a request for comment from Lifeway Foods on the company"s dairy claims has not been returned.