PETA files suit over TV ad claiming cows are 'happy'

LOS ANGELES: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) doesn't think it's fair to call California cows happy, according to a new FTC filing.

LOS ANGELES: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) doesn't think it's fair to call California cows happy, according to a new FTC filing.

The animal-rights activists registered a false-advertising complaint with the Federal Trade Commission last week, charging that the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), one of the largest marketing boards in the Western US, is deceiving consumers with its new "Happy Cows

ads.

The TV spots, set against idyllic, rolling pastures, feature talking bovines expressing their joy at living in California.

The filing claims that in California, the US' largest milk producer, cows experience hard work and pain, and are slaughtered when they can no longer produce milk. The ads, PETA says, give consumers concerned about the environment and animal welfare the incorrect perception that buying California dairy products is a more humane and ecologically sound purchase than dairy from other states.

"Contrary to the depictions in the Happy Cows ads, the vast majority of California dairy cows do not live easy lives,

reads the complaint.

PETA held a press conference in San Francisco, where the suit was filed, picking up coverage in the San Francisco Chronicle and other outlets.

CMAB VP of communications Nancy Fletcher called the allegations a "gross misstatement,

but conceded the action has garnered significant local media interest. She added that she has done a number of interviews since the filing, but has no other proactive PR moves planned, other than the continuation of the campaign.

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