David Slays Goliath In Milk War

For Immediate Release:
2 September 2001

Bruce G. Friedrich – 0208 870 3966

London — The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has handed the animal rights group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), a victory over factory farming advocates the Dairy Council, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), the NFU of Scotland and the Royal Agricultural Society of England.

Last year, PETA launched a campaign, directed at children, warning that cow’s milk is linked to health problems, environmental destruction and cruelty to animals. PETA produced ‘Milk Suckers’ trading cards, depicting make-believe children ‘Windy Wanda’, ‘Spotty Sue’, ‘Phlegmy Phil’ and ‘Chubbie Charlie’, all suffering from common dairy-related illnesses, including wind, spots, phlegm and obesity.

Although PETA will be allowed to continue its campaign, in its finding today the ASA held that PETA’s cards implied that most children, upon consuming any milk, would suffer from all of the ailments depicted in the cards and that the scientific evidence did not back up such claims. PETA had already distributed more than 100,000 of the cards to children but had been waiting for the ASA verdict before reprinting them. ‘Of course we weren’t saying that every child who takes a sip of milk would immediately become all spotty and blow up to 15 stone,’ says PETA campaigner Bruce Friedrich. ‘But since we were out of the cards and ready to reprint, the next run can be even more damning of dairy products and much more specific. The public can check out both versions—and all the evidence for them—at MilkSucks.org.uk.’

As a result of the campaign, PETA’s MilkSucks.org.uk Web site has become one of the most popular vegetarian sites for children. Visitors learn that the dairy industry treats cows as nothing more than ‘milk machines’ and that cows give milk for the same reason all animals do—for their own babies. Children are upset to hear that calves are taken from their mothers within a few days of birth (and often within 24 hours) so that humans can drink the mother cow’s milk. Because of human manipulation, cows now give 10 times the amount of milk their calves would drink normally, which causes the animals to suffer from an array of agonising ailments, including heavy udders, udder infections and lameness from carrying too much weight for their frames. At a fraction of their natural lifespan (usually around the age of 4 or 5), cows are slaughtered and their bodies incinerated and stored in giant warehouses out of fear that they might have mad cow disease.

PETA cites respected paediatrician Dr Charles Attwood: ‘After seeing two generations of my patients suffer with asthma and other allergic reactions to milk, I’ve come to the conclusion—which is now shared by many allergists—that six out of 10 children are allergic to milk protein.’

The complete text of the ASA finding, as well as PETA’s response, are available at MilkSucks.org.uk.