For years the meat and dairy industries have been plaguing us with false advertising. In TV commercials and on billboards we see smiling cartoon pigs, cows grazing on rolling green hills, overly sexualized women biting into burgers, celebrities with milk mustaches, farmers delicately bottle-feeding day old lambs, and chickens clucking as they enjoy limitless freedom on a family farm.
It goes a little like this: an attractive farming family treks across their land, looking exhausted and covered in mud after retrieving a calf that got lost and supposedly stuck in the mud after escaping from an unlocked gate. They lead the calf back to the confines of its fenced pasture and reunite the young animal with it’s loving mother. The family looks around sentimentally to one another, the husband and wife kiss each other’s muddy lips, all as if to say they are proud of their hard work in making this important reunion of mother and calf. It was worth the toil and trouble. Then the family cleans up, swings on their homemade rope swing, and plays outside together. The experience brought both the human and non-human families closer. We’re left with “Love This Life: Chobani” while a man playing acoustic guitar croons about ‘living naturally.’
PRNewswire reported the launch of Chobani’s new campaign, saying that “authentic, real-life moments” are the basis of the advertisements and are intended to “connect the brand’s values to its fans’ values.”
Authentic? Real-life? Values? Sorry Chobani, but you couldn’t be more wrong.
When we keep in mind that today 2 out of 3 cows are factory farmed, this sentimental commercial just becomes insulting. What is shown in the ad is the farmers working hard to collectively reunite a mother and baby. The reality is that—even in small-scale dairies—newborn calves are torn apart from their mothers almost immediately after birth so that the mother’s milk can be harvested for human consumption.
The cruelty involved in such a “practice” causes extreme anxiety in both calf and mother, and it is known that mothers and babies will cry and mourn the loss of each other for extended periods of time. Female cows carry their young for nine months, the same as humans, so the loss is astounding and confusing to the mother. This terrifically cruel cycle of birth and separation continues endlessly until the mother cow is too exhausted to produce anymore; then she’s shipped off to become cheap burgers or pet food. Her newborn calf is usually raised in confinement to become veal.
In a recent article featured on The Dodo, a mother cow who was lucky enough to make it to an animal sanctuary gave birth in the safety of her new home. However, sanctuary volunteers and employees were shocked to see that the mama cow actually hid her baby from humans so as to avoid having her baby taken from her again. Sanctuary workers were pleased that she could keep her baby this time, but the cow’s behavior shows signs of having been affected by the trauma and abuse that is common practice in the dairy industry.
Advertising in the dairy industry is all about misleading images and stories. They shade the general public from what is actually happening behind the scenes because, let’s face it, the truth sends people running.
Chobani isn’t the only company that has launched dairy-positive campaigns this year. The California Milk Processor Board (CMPB) who began Got Milk? launched the social media heavy #MilkTruth campaign to outline positive, healthy facts about the dairy industry. It quickly came to a halt after animal activists began using CMPB’s own hashtag against them, posting graphic photos and facts about dairy farming while using #MilkTruth in tweets and Instagram posts.
Then last year, this Domino’s Pizza box made its own rounds on social media. The pizza chain made the box to ‘honor’ and ‘respect’ the cows whose milk they steal for their products. In reality, a Mercy For Animals undercover video exposed systemic animal cruelty from Domino’s dairy suppliers.
Sorry, Dominos, adorning your cows with gentle, female names doesn’t excuse the cruelty for which you’re responsible.
Help get the message out: share this alternative video that truly shows where dairy comes from, and tweet @Chobani letting them know that their latest ad campaign is a travesty.
What meat/dairy advertising have you seen lately that has outraged you? Let us know and we might write about it!