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Dairy Cows Need Your Help

Dairy Cows Need Your Help

NOTE: This is a guest post from Jackie Sleeper, Director of Certification at Humane Farm Animal Care

Look carefully in the dairy area of most major supermarkets and you are likely to see many different egg products displaying the Certified Humane® seal. Being Certified Humane® is a badge of honor for farmers and the grocers who market their products. The certification meets the demand of consumers who want to purchase animal products that adhere to the highest humane standards.

It’s the right thing to do and it’s also good business.

Multiple public opinion studies have found that consumers care about where their food comes from. The public is becoming increasingly vocal about their desire for animal agriculture to meet comprehensive, science-based animal welfare standards.

Two of the most common products in the supermarket dairy aisle are eggs and milk. Despite the public’s increasing demand for animal products produced in a humane environment, the vast majority of dairy farmers have not felt the need for animal welfare certification. As a result, there are very few Certified Humane® dairy products and NO Certified Humane® milk products available in your grocer’s fridge. Indeed, there are fewer than 25 cow dairy farms in the US that are certified by either Certified Humane® or Animal Welfare Approved, the only two animal welfare certification programs widely considered to be the most rigorous and comprehensive.

The most common explanation we’ve heard for the lack of Certified Humane® dairies is a sense by farmers and milk producers that the public doesn’t care. “Where’s the demand?” we’ve heard from countless milk producers.

Actually, they’re right – not enough consumers are making their voices heard about their desire for humanely raised dairy products. Supermarkets are not hearing from consumers that they want Certified Humane® dairy products.

I know that if milk producers thought the public wanted proof that they take proper care of their dairy cows and produce milk products under humane conditions, they would apply for certification. Milk is a highly competitive market, and producers currently compete on a number of levels including price, packaging, nutritional content and safety. Becoming Certified Humane® would give dairy farmers the ability to compete on another level: humane treatment of animals – but they will only go through the certification process if they know that consumers want it.

Informed consumers want to know that the milk they provide for their family came from cows who are not constrained in tie stalls and are free to move about, are provided a healthy diet free from antibiotics, are not treated with growth hormones like rBST, and are required to have access to the outdoors (all of which are requirements of the Certified Humane® program). Certified Humane® dairy producers, and the grocery stores that sell their milk, will have a distinct marketing advantage because consumers will reward these producers and retailers with their business.

So next time you’re in the supermarket, don’t be afraid to speak up and ask the dairy manager to carry Certified Humane® dairy products – you can download a product request form here. Let’s work together to let dairy farmers know that consumers care about how dairy cows are treated.

Related Stories:

Listen, Food Industry and Government: Consumers Want Quality and Fairness

Raw Milk Debate Is White Hot

Lawsuit Seeks Foie Gras Ban in U.S.

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163 comments

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9:55AM PDT on Aug 2, 2014

Everyone does realize that cheese, butter, sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt , pudding and the list goes on has dairy in it which comes from yes the same cows that produce milk so vegetarian vegan what ever it's probably easier to find a steak that came from a steer treated more humanely then a dairy cow!!

9:50AM PDT on Aug 2, 2014

I agree with most of your causes but it would be nice if you gave real solutions. You ask for signatures, you say ask my grocery store to sell organic certified well can you give some organic certified brands and companies so I can research them and suggest them to my grocer ! I would love to go all organic and your site does bring causes to the forefront but you give very little in the way if participating in these programs! I will be happy to share brands and companies who treat there dairy cattle humanly but I'm also going to find a company that doesn't separate the bull calves days after they are born it may lead to another country but I will find them! Thanks for bringing this to my attention with no solution !!

7:03AM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

I too am like Susan G a long term vegetarian and semi vegan, I haven't drunk cows milk for a few years. I mean not only is it unnatural to drink another mammals milk but the way the dairy cows are treated

4:09AM PDT on Aug 28, 2012

I have been a vegetarian for 35 years and am on the verge of becoming vegan simply because the way the animals are treated. Yes, the punlic does care more and more about what we eat!

9:02AM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

When you buy raw milk..you just have to heat it up to 70 degrees celcius..and the harmful bacterias are dead..and you don´t destroy the nutrients as you do when boiling it..and it keeps the great taste.. We have been doing this for 20 years..and never sick.

11:59AM PDT on Jun 1, 2012

thanks for sharing :)

7:23AM PDT on May 30, 2012

poor cows

5:50AM PDT on May 30, 2012

Thanks, not a milk user so I didn't know.

11:35PM PDT on May 28, 2012

Exactly, Julianna! I lived for decades in "Dairy Country" and very near another which had a retail store on the site..........Smith Bros. Dairy in Kent, Washington. I've posted links to their website many times. Their cows are outside in grassy pastures every single day, and their barns are always open to the public. The retail store sells raw milk as well as anything else. They hide nothing (including the smell of the manure composted to be sent to Cedar Hills). Yes, the "aroma" driving by dairies isn't all that pleasant, but the source is almost always recycled into fertilizer down the road at the veggie farms or removed to a place "such as" Cedar Hills, and people pay good money for the end result.

5:12PM PDT on May 28, 2012

thanks :)

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