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Authorities Refuse to Crack Down on Misleading Milk Ads

Animal Justice March 21, 2018

In November 2016, Animal Justice filed complaints with authorities over a misleading ad campaign that suggested that consuming of dairy is essential for human health. The ads, sponsored by the Dairy Farmers of Canada, were crafted to appear as public health announcements by several health organizations, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Osteoperosis Canada, and Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Disturbingly, the ads told Canadians to consume dairy to prevent osteoporosis, colorectal cancer, and hypertension.

According to Dietitians of Canada, it is not necessary to consume fluid cow’s milk, yogurt, or cheese to avoid colorectal cancer, osteoporosis, or heart disease. On the contrary, Dietitians of Canada states that a vegan diet, without dairy, “has many health benefits including lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.”

Dr. Walter Willet, Chair of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, observes that high dairy intake is not beneficial and may even be harmful. According to Dr. Willet, high dairy consumption is associated with increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer.

Animal Justice filed false advertising complaints with the Competition Bureau and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)—which are responsible for protecting consumers from fake marketing. Food ads must be truthful so consumers can avoid food fraud and make informed choices.

Last year, the Competition Bureau—the federal consumer protection agency—opened an inquiry into the false ads. However, Animal Justice just received bad news—the Commissioner of Competition dropped the inquiry.

Laws protecting farmed animals in Canada are weak or often don’t exist in the first place. Even when laws offer some protections to animals, they are badly under-enforced. That’s why Animal Justice lawyers get creative to protect animals. We use false advertising laws to crack down on the meat, dairy, and egg industries. We’re dismayed that our legal complaints have not resulted in justice.

But we’re not ready to give up. Next, we’ll file requests under freedom of information legislation to find out why authorities fail to act. As long as farmed animals are confined in appalling conditions and food companies get away with lying about their products, we will use whatever legal tools are available to fight for animals.

 

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Dairy Farmers of Canada Ads Violate Federal Law, Says Legal Filing

Animal Justice November 23, 2016

OTTAWA—National animal law organization Animal Justice has filed a false advertising complaint with federal regulators over Dairy Farmers of Canada ads that falsely claim dairy is required to prevent osteoporosis, colorectal cancer, and hypertension, when research shows dairy is not a necessary part of the human diet and may even be harmful.

The ad campaign is running on transit vehicles and stations across Canada. The ads are disguised as public health announcements from trusted Canadian health authorities, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Osteoporosis Canada and Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, to which Dairy Farmers of Canada is a major donor. It is not evident that the ads are funded by a marketing organization with a mandate to sell dairy; in fact, the Dairy Farmers boasts an annual marketing budget of $80 million.

According to Dietitians of Canada, it is not necessary to consume fluid cow’s milk, yogurt, or cheese to avoid colorectal cancer, osteoporosis, or heart disease. On the contrary, Dietitians of Canada states that a vegan diet, which excludes dairy, “has many health benefits including lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.”

Dr. Walter Willet, Chair of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, observes that high dairy intake is not beneficial and may even be harmful. According to Dr. Willet, high dairy consumption is associated with increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer.

“The Dairy Farmers of Canada has very effectively spent decades convincing Canadians that they need to drink the breast milk of another species,” said lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice. “In fact, adult humans have no nutritional need to consume cow’s milk. This latest ad campaign is brazenly disguised as public health announcements from trusted health authorities. Moreover, it’s ethnocentric and racially exclusive to position consuming cow’s milk as a normal and natural food for humans when more than 90 percent of some non-European communities can’t even digest it. Cow’s milk is intended for baby cows. These predatory ads violate federal laws that prohibit false advertising.”

According to international market research company BBC Research, the global market for dairy alternatives is exploding, having reached $5.8 billion in 2014 and expected to rise at a rate of 13.3 percent annually to $10.9 billion by 2019.

– 30 –

To read the complaint, please click here.

For high-resolution versions of the ads, please see the following links:

Stroke
Heart health
Colorectal cancer
Osteoperosis

For more information, contact:

Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
apippus@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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