Animal Rights Group Counters Image of Central Valley's "Happy Cows", Documents PollutionSan Francisco Bay Area 01 May 2005 02:30 GMT
This week, East Bay Animal Advocates (EBAA) unveiled the findings of their investigation into the California dairy industry, the largest in the nation. Their graphic documentation reveals systematic animal neglect at dairy farms across the state. EBAA documented conditions at farm operations in five of California's top producing dairy counties (Merced, San Joaquin, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Tulare). In California, dairy concentrated animal feeding operations commonly confine several thousand cows on limited acreage. Cows are denied adequate protection from severe weather conditions. The pasture-less dry lot system increases the incidence of infection, disease and injury among the cow population. According to California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, California dairies pose a serious threat to humans living in surrounding rural communities. In 2004, the California Pollution Control Financing Authority allocated $70 million in state bond funds to expand large dairy operations, which produce significant amounts of pollution from cow manure. These findings seem to counter the "Happy Cows" marketing campaign, which each year the California Milk Advisory Board spends $37 million to promote.
Last week, the state Supreme Court denied review of an appeal by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) — which had sued the Milk Board for for false advertising and unfair business practices — leaving stand a previous ruling which declared that government agencies are immune from lawsuits over the truthfulness of their ads.