The dairy industry is afraid.
Sales of milk are dropping and last year the Advertising Standard Authority allowed a vegan group to publish an advert that declared that dairy farming was inhumane.
In response, dairy bosses have ploughed £1.2 million into a campaign to 'combat vegan attacks'.
Part of that campaign includes the website tellitlikeitis.co.uk, which claims to communicate the story of dairy and nutrition.
It calls for dairy farmers and their friends to pull together to secure the future of dairy for future generations.
In response, independent vegan activists have developed the counter website tellitlikeitREALLYis.co.uk, where they point out that the original website does not disclose the full truth of the industry.
They’re asking the public to open their eyes to the reality of dairy and to recognise that the website was developed by an industry that is fighting to survive.
tellitlikeitREALLYis.co.uk publicly accuses the original website of focusing on dairy’s supposed nutritional benefits and taste, tradition and the role dairy plays in supporting the UK economy, whilst ignoring the damage dairy farming causes to the environment.
It also points out that the dairy industry has failed to address the tremendous amount of animal suffering, cruelty and violence suffered by dairy cows in order that humans can take their milk.
Common and cruel dairy practices include artificially inseminating female dairy cows once a year, removing their calves soon after birth so that their babies cannot drink from their mothers, overmilking, the view that male calves are a ‘waste product’, the subsequent killing of those male calves because they cannot bring profit, unsanitary conditions and the slaughter of dairy cows before they have reached one-third of their natural lifespan.
Most cows slaughtered in this way go on to become ‘low-grade’ meat.
Ed Winters, who goes by the influencer name 'Earthling Ed', is fronting the campaign as official spokesperson.
He said: "The tellitlikeitis.co.uk website is not telling the truth about dairy.
"The industry is cherry picking information it thinks will increase sales and make a profit, whilst ignoring the important negative environmental impact dairy has and the everyday cruelty that it normalises.
"It's also failing to acknowledge that there are other ways of gathering the nutrients humans get from drinking milk, or that there is evidence that drinking milk can increase the risk of developing prostate, testicular, ovarian and breast cancer."
He adds: "Like all mammals, dairy cows only produce milk when they are pregnant or have recently given birth.
"The milk these mothers make is for their babies to drink, not for humans to take. It is not natural to take milk from another species, though the tellitlikeitis.co.uk website is implying that it is.
"We made this website so that we could tell the public the truth."
The creators of tellitlikeitREALLYis.co.uk will be releasing a series of infographics throughout February on the #Februdairy hashtag, which was developed by dairy farmers to highlight the 'special relationship humans have with cows'.
The #Februdairy initiative launched last year without much traction, but this year vegans are anticipating significant pro-dairy weight behind the campaign, which immediately follows the most successful Veganuary to date (160,000+ sign-ups).
The tellitlikeitREALLYis.co.uk team will also be using the #ShoutAboutDairy hashtag developed by the original website, to make sure that those being presented with the original content are also able to view the secret consequences of their decision to drink milk.
As well as confronting the mistruths around the dairy industry, the tellitlikeitREALLYis.co.uk project offers advice and support for farmers looking to move away from dairy practices.
The website is an overall critique of the system and not a personal attack on individual farmers.
- 21,000,000 dairy calves are slaughtered worldwide each year for veal and cheap beef.
- Biological manipulation means that cows produce 12 times more milk than they would naturally to feed a calf.
- Calves are typically removed from their mother within 24 hours of birth in an attempt to stop a bond from forming. This is labelled as humane practise.
- Cows call out to their babies for many hours when they’re separated, often chasing vehicles for as long as they can in an attempt to retrieve their young.