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Here’s Why #Februdairy is Already Totally Failing

Animal Justice February 2, 2018

Nice try, Big Dairy.

The dairy industry recently launched #Februdairy, a social media campaign aiming to promote dairy milk during the month of February. But before the campaign could even officially start, it quickly became a marketing failure.

When public caught wind, the Twitter hashtag exploded with the shocking truth about the dairy industry—focusing on the immense animal suffering that goes into all dairy milk products:


Februdairy tweetFebrudairy tweet
Februdairy tweet

In the Canadian dairy industry, cows are forcefully impregnated, and and their calves are taken away shortly after birth so the milk can be sold. Male calves typically become veal, and female calves suffer the same fate as their mothers. When their bodies wear out and they cease to be profitable, dairy cows are sent to slaughter and become hamburger meat.

Dairy milk is isn’t just bad for animals. It’s linked to multiple diseases in humans, and takes a toll on the environment. Additionally, up to 90% of people of some non-European ethnicities can’t even digest the lactose found in dairy milk.

As plant milk sales continue to soar and dairy sales plummet, it’s easy to see why the dairy industry is desperate to convince people that its products are worth consuming.

According to Statistics Canada, milk consumption has fallen by 21.5% per-capita since 2009. Meanwhile almond milk consumption has tripled in just two years, according to Nielson.

Many milk companies see the writing on the wall, and are choosing to move into the plant-based milk market. Last year, Danone bought WhiteWave Foods, a plant-based milk company, for $10 billion USD. In 2017, Ben and Jerry’s started to roll out its impressive line of vegan ice cream.

Hello, plants—goodbye, dairy!

Meanwhile, Canadian health and food policy also appears to be shifting away from dairy. Health Canada recently released the draft for the new Canada Food Guide. Unlike previous versions, there is no dairy category in sight.

At a recent conference in Scotland, a livestock sustainability consultant stated, “There is a need in the dairy sector for some myth-busting. If consumers don’t buy our products – milk, cream, butter, cheese etc – we will not have a dairy industry in five to 10 years.”

But the real myths are the ones being told by the dairy industry. With the dairy-free movement continuing to grow, this spells good news for people, the planet and the cows.


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Animals Are Freezing To Death on Canadian Slaughter Trucks Right Now

Animal Justice January 5, 2018

Canada is experiencing an especially frigid winter, with temperatures feeling as low as -40° C even in southern parts of the country like Toronto.

Many people will ride out this cold snap in the comfort of their homes, or bundle up if they must face the frosty outdoors. Environment Canada issues extreme cold weather alerts to protect people from frostbite, cities open up warming centres for homeless individuals, and schools even cancel outdoor recess periods when the temperature plummets.

But for the millions of chickens, pigs, and cows trucked to slaughterhouses everyday in Canada, it’s business as usual—even in frigid extremes.

Canadian animal transport slaughter truck slaughterhouse livestock

Animals are routinely transported to slaughter in open-sided vehicles, with no heating systems to protect them from the dangerous cold.

Canada’s animal transport laws are among the weakest in the western world, and there are no restrictions that lay out minimum or maximum temperatures in which animals can be transported. In brutally cold weather, animals routinely arrive at slaughter frostbitten or even dead from weather exposure. Workers at Canada’s largest slaughterhouse, Maple Lodge Farms, which kills half a million chickens every day, have described chickens arriving to slaughter, frozen solid like “hockey pucks” and “popsicles”. Government statistics show at least 1.59 million animals arriving dead at slaughterhouses every year.

Canada’s outdated transport laws haven’t been revised since the 1970s, and a recent proposal by the federal government to update the rules still fails to restrict animal transport during extreme weather, or require climate control for trucks.

Existing transport laws are ineffectively enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and even when investigations and prosecutions do take place, penalties are not strong enough to motivate industry to protect animals from the cold. Maple Lodge Farms, for example, has been repeatedly convicted and fined for allowing animals to freeze to death, yet still operates using the same inadequate trucks.

In 2018, Animal Justice will continue to fight archaic transport laws, and to protect millions of animals from the extreme suffering they endure on Canadian farms.

To help, please sign up to our mailing list and stay tuned for ways to get involved.

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Help Protect Calves From Veal Industry Cruelty

Animal Justice February 6, 2017

How the Proposed Veal Code of Practice Fails Calves and What You Can Do to Help

Calves used by the Canadian veal industry endure tremendous suffering. These babies are stolen away from their mothers shortly after birth, then isolated in tiny crates with hard, barren floors—denying them every natural instinct and urge.

The National Farm Animal Care Council—the industry group that creates guidelines for the treatment of animals in Canada—has released a new draft code of practice for veal calves, and it is open for public comment.

Now is the time to speak up for calves. Please take a moment to send in your comments before the February 14 deadline!


The draft guidelines do not require farmers to follow many animal management practices that the latest welfare science indicates are the bare minimum to reduce suffering. Indeed, the science summarized by the Council’s own scientific advisory committee is too often unheeded in the draft guidelines, indefensibly sacrificing animal welfare for farmer convenience.

Some specific shortcomings with the draft guidelines include:

The draft guidelines permit calves to be isolated, even though the evidence (and common sense) is clear that calves crave social contact. Like all newborn babies, veal calves are biologically motivated to seek warmth, comfort, and social interaction. Taking calves from their mothers and isolating them from each other is cruel.

The draft code of practice permits farmers to keep calves on hard, barren floors. In addition to being uncomfortable, the scientific report indicates that hard flooring and/or a lack of bedding is also associated with a wide range of injuries and health problems.

Bursitis is painful joint inflammation, commonly caused by hard flooring in veal calf facilities. Despite it being a common, painful, and preventable condition, the draft guidelines only require addressing environmental issues if three consecutive groups of calves exceed a 15 percent rate of bursitis.

The scientific report indicates that if calves were left with their mothers, they would nurse ten times each day in the first week of life. The frequency would gradually decrease until natural weaning around nine months. The scientific advisory committee identified numerous serious health problems with a low frequency of daily feedings, yet the draft guidelines require only two feedings per day—a frequency that research has clearly associated with suffering.

Like all newborn babies, calves are born with a physical and psychological need to suckle. The scientific advisory committee identified numerous benefits associated with suckling on teats vs drinking milk from buckets, observing that “calves are highly motivated to suck.” Despite this, the draft guidelines don’t require the use of teats, suggesting only that farmers “consider” using teats.

The scientific advisory committee found that calves with average blood haemoglobin of ? 4.8 mmol/L (7.7 g/dL) were anemic, negatively affecting their appetite, growth, energy, and immunity. However, the draft guidelines only require iron supplementation when calves are “found to have” blood haemoglobin below 4.5 mmol/L (7.2 g/dL)—at which point the calves would be severely anemic. Moreover, farmers aren’t even required to actually monitor blood haemoglobin!


As legal experts in animal law, we at Animal Justice make it our mission to identify and explain the many ways our animal welfare laws fail animals. With your help as concerned and engaged citizens, we can push to improve laws and policies.

However, consumers should remember that suffering is inherent in veal farming. Calves are literally waste products of the dairy industry, as cows must be impregnated to produce milk. These babies have been taken from their mothers within hours of birth, causing immense distress to both mother and baby. As together we move the ball forward on legal protections for animals, we consumers always have the power to vote with our wallets by boycotting industries that harm animals.

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

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