Monday, November 16, 2009
Animals rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) intends to sue the California Milk Advisory Board over its award winning 'Happy Cows' dairy campaign.
The campaign has been successfully running for two years as a series of commercials that feature animated cows discussing the pleasures of life in the pastures of California.
The ad slogan is: 'Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.'
The state is the second largest cheese producer in the US.
PETA's suit is expected to claim that California dairy cows live on muddy, feces- and urine-soaked lots devoid of any vegetation, not on grassy hillsides as depicted in the ads.
The suit doesn't seek a ruling on whether California cows are truly happy, but rather whether the depiction of the dairy cows' living conditions is unlawfully deceptive.
University of California Professor Jim Reynolds concedes the ads do portray an idealized view of the life of a dairy cow, but consumers know the difference between reality and fantasy.
'I know when I buy a beer in a bar, I don't get two women in bikinis standing next to me,' Reynolds said.
PETA has filed a similar frivolous complaint with the Federal Trade Commission in the past but it was found to 'lack merit'.
New Zealand connection
In related news the CMAB says the latest round of commercials will be shot in New Zealand rather than California to keep production costs down.
The board says however that all the cows that are identified as Californian in the ads will be actual Californian cows. Post production work which accounts for around 80% of the job will remain in California.