Ben & Jerry’s Sued Over Claim Cows Are ‘Happy’
Ben & Jerry’s is facing a lawsuit over the claim that its cows are "happy."
Writer and Editor | Newcastle, Australia | Contactable via: jemima@livekindly.com

Jemima has been writing for LIVEKINDLY for two years. She has studied songwriting at a music university in London and Psychology at Newcastle University in Australia. She is now exploring living kindly through her volunteer work at an animal sanctuary and her Environmental studies.

American ice cream manufacturer Ben & Jerry’s is facing a lawsuit over its claims that the dairy it uses in its products comes from “happy cows.”

The animal welfare lawsuit accuses Ben & Jerry’s and its parent company Unilever of false advertising.

In the complaint, environmental advocate James Ehlers pointed out that Ben & Jerry’s often gets the milk and cream for its desserts from “factory-style, mass-production dairy operations.” This is “in contrast to what Unilever has told consumers.”

Ben & Jerry’s has a Caring Dairy program — which sees farmers attending three workshops aimed at improving sustainability and animal care — however, Ehlers highlights that only some Ben & Jerry’s farmers are a part of it. He said the company had “breached consumer trust.”

Ben & Jerry’s Sued Over Claim Cows Are ‘Happy’
Mother cows are separated from their calves soon after giving birth.

The Problem With Dairy

Cows only produce milk to feed their young. This means factory farms artificially impregnate cows — typically each year — so that they continue to produce milk. According to the Guardian, farmers separate mother cows from their calves “within hours or days of birth. In another article, author Chas Newkey-Burden wrote in an op-ed for the publication that “following that callous separation, the mother will bellow and scream for days, wondering where her baby is.”

Farms will send male calves to the veal or beef industries and female calves will go on to produce dairy. A cow’s natural lifespan is around 20 years. Workers generally kill dairy cows are after six years as their bodies can no longer produce milk so intensively.

Ben & Jerry’s Going Vegan

Ben & Jerry’s first strayed from dairy in 2016 when it launched its first-ever vegan line. The frozen desserts were made with an almond milk base and included Chunky Monkey, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, P.B. & Cookies, and Coffee Caramel Fudge.

Ben & Jerry’s was motivated to create vegan options by demand. “We’ve definitely had a large demand from our consumers to have a non-dairy offering,” said spokesperson Lindsay Bumps.

The ice cream company has since released multiple dairy-free flavors. Vegan ice cream now makes up 25 percent of Ben & Jerry’s “full-time” flavors. The non-dairy pints are available in the U.S., the UK, Australia, and Asia.


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Ben & Jerry’s Sued Over Claim Cows Are ‘Happy’
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Ben & Jerry’s Sued Over Claim Cows Are ‘Happy’
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Ben & Jerry's was sued over claims that the dairy used in its ice cream comes from "happy cows." The animal welfare lawsuit says this is false advertising.
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