Target: Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim
Goal: Stop purchasing milk from producers that cruelly dock the tails of dairy cows.
Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is a favorite among American families. The flavors are fantastic, but at least half of the appeal comes from the company marketing itself as socially responsible, politically aware, and light-hearted. Nobody is perfect, but Ben & Jerry’s seems to be headed in the right direction as it recently began supporting parent company Unilever’s recent decision to use cage-free eggs in an effort to be more humane. Cage-free eggs are definitely an improvement, but there is still a glaring animal welfare issue for which there is no excuse that needs sorting out: tail docking.
For those unfamiliar with the term, tail docking is the cruel practice of amputating the tail of an animal, and is typically done without anesthesia. In Vermont, the state which Ben & Jerry’s proudly hails from, this practice is very widespread. There is a program called “Caring Dairy” that provides a pay incentive to Ben & Jerry’s producers that don’t dock the tails of their cows, but it’s completely voluntary and has only been adopted by some; a number of participants are taking the pay cut and still providing milk.
Tail docking doesn’t improve the product in any way, and is only for the convenience of workers. It’s extremely painful, and for this “convenience” cows have rubber bands tied around their tails before having them sliced off, using no anesthesia, causing acute pain and discomfort followed by a lifetime of chronic phantom pain. In addition to the pain, the life if the cow is further impacted by its inability to swat flies and socially signal other animals. Cows that have been docked show increased agitation, tossing grain and trying to spit on their own backs to get rid of annoying flies that cause stress and even disease.
The American Veterinary Medical Association is completely opposed tail docking of dairy cows, and many states have already outlawed the cruel and pointless practice, but Vermont continues to allow it. Ben & Jerry’s is not only aware of these practices, but continues to financially support the inhumane treatment of animals by purchasing milk from tail docking dairy farms. Please help convince Ben & Jerry’s to stop buying milk from known tail-docking producers by signing the petition below.
Dear Mr. Solheim,
As a socially responsible and politically driven company, you’ve recently starting using cage-free eggs in order to make strides toward the humane treatment of animals. That’s a step in the right direction, but there is a huge animal welfare issue being overlooked that can be easily remedied.
Your Caring Dairy program provides incentive to dairy farmers that don’t practice tail docking, but regardless of your awareness of the issue you continue to purchase milk from the farmers that took a pay cut over the obviously better option of stopping the cruel and unnecessary butchering of animals for their own convenience.
Tail docking is very painful, and causes life-long suffering for cows involved. There are no shortages of suppliers operating under your Caring Dairy program, and you have already pinpointed which producers refuse to abide by humane standards. Please stop buying milk from the farmers still executing these cruel and pointless tail-docking procedures, and set an example for the humane treatment of animals by companies everywhere. You can do it!
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Waycool27