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PETA Loses 'Happy Cow' Lawsuit

PETA Loses 'Happy Cow' Lawsuit

Animal welfare group claimed California dairy producers weren't being truthful about how cows are treated in an ad campaign.

Looks like a California court agrees that cows in the state are "happy" as it denies a lawsuit brought by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals with claims that milk advertising in the state was false. The PETA suit was brought against the California Milk Producers Advisory Board, which manage's the states milk production promotions.

HAPPY COWS? Court says PETA fails to make its case that California dairy promotion group uses "false statements" regarding "happy cows."

PETA claimed in its original suit that CMAB engages in "false and unwarranted" advertising and other promotions in violation of state law. The campaign at issue in the lawsuit is CMAB's "Family Farms" promotion. PETA said the campaign gives the impression that California dairy producers care for the comfort, health and welfare of their cows and provide for the stewardship of the environment when, in fact, the group says the cows "are subjected to physical and psychological pain and stress…have a high risk of suffering from a number of diseases and die prematurely."

The chain of events leading to suit - as detailed by Feedstuffs - shows that PETA made its first charges against the California Department of Food & Agriculture stating that CMAB's misleading promotion violated the order under which CDFA established CMAB in that the California Marketing Act of 1937 prohibits promotion of agricultural products using false and unwarranted claims. CDFA rejected PETA's letter, after which PETA filed its lawsuit.

In the Aug. 23, ruling, Sacramento County Suprior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly said PETA's claims were not supported "by the knowledge" of CDFA personnel related to the condition of California dairy cows and farms, including CDFA economists and veterinarians. Connelly adds that both CDFA and CMAB personnel have "extensive experience and knowledge that provide strong evidentiary support" for the Happy Cows promotion and that support CMAB's position that California dairy producers "work hard to ensure the comfort, health and productivity of their cows."

PETA responded to the ruling by noting that Connelly had excluded all evidence from peer-reviewed journals and USDA surveys that explained the extent to which "disease and suffering are rampant" among California dairy cows. The organization is reviewing the judge's decision to determine the next step.

For now, the courts have spoken, and those cows in California are officially "happy."

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