As we (and a lot of other media outlets, including the NBC Today Show, People Magazine and the Miami Herald, to name a few) reported last week, Ben & Jerry’s will no longer claim that the milk in their ice cream comes from “happy cows.”
The “happy cows” narrative has made for fun—and prolific—headlines. But it’s also detracted from the seriousness of the allegations (deceptive labeling, marketing, and sale of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Products) contained in lawsuits, including ours, against the company.
This week Regeneration Vermont published a story that serves as a reminder that Vermont’s industrial dairy industry is no laughing matter.
It seems that a Vermont dairy farm, which according to a sign posted on the property was a Ben & Jerry’s “Caring Dairy” from 2012 - 2016, has been lowballing the number of cows in its dairy herd in order to avoid regulations and oversight.
Caught in the act, the farm has been forced to apply for the proper permit. According to Regeneration Vermont, the permit application reveals that this industrial factory farm will produce “approximately 10 million gallons of liquid cow manure annually, all of which will be spread within a watershed already considered to be in crisis, largely the result of phosphorus-rich manure run-off from farm fields.”
We'll hazard a guess that 10 million gallons of liquid cow manure spilling out of a factory farm dairy makes for plenty of unhappy Vermont neighbors.