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How Now Unhappy Cow? Ben & Jerry's Drops Claims of Contented Bovines

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. has dropped the claim that the milk for its ice cream comes from "happy" cows.

The word that the cows may not be contented comes in the company's response to a federal consumer fraud lawsuit. That case, filed in October, alleges the Vermont ice cream maker misleads the public about how its farms treat their animals and protect the environment.

The company filed a motion to dismiss the case this week in federal court.

"The phrase 'happy cows’ has already been removed from the packaging,” the motion said. “The cartoon cows remain [on the packaging] but … they did not look happy to begin with.”

Activist Michael Colby and his group Regeneration Vermont has been pressuring Ben & Jerry’s to use its influence to change farming practices in Vermont. He said there's both good news and bad news in the Ben & Jerry's decision.

“We applaud their honesty, and it's a great victory for them to remove what we believe to be misleading information from their packaging,” Colby said.