The Belgian Dairy industry has criticised a new advertising campaign by BE Vegan which centres around the idea that milk is responsible for the death of 150,000 Belgian calves every year.
The advert, which will be on trams in Ghent and Antwerp for the next month, features the slogan "Milk is deadly," followed by: "for 150,000 Belgian calves per year".
"The idyllic image of cheerful little cows in the meadow that give milk is not true," BE Vegan said, De Standaard reports. "Dairy cows are made artificially pregnant every year to get milk production going. Afterwards, the calves are removed and the milk is used for human consumption," it adds.
Representatives of the dairy industry, however, have reacted strongly to the campaign's message. "It's a bit of strange advertising from the vegan movement," Jannes Maes, President of the European Council of Young Farmers (CEJA) told The Brussels Times. "It's not promoting a vegan alternative in people's diet, rather choosing shameless polarisation of milk." "I don't have a problem showing people that milk production requires cows and calves, but in that view, I feel as much responsible for the life of those animals," added Maes. Renaat Debergh from the Belgian Confederation of the Dairy Industry called the campaign 'completely crazy' and 'unseemly', reports GVA. "On the very day that we read in the report of the Superior Health Council that dairy is in sixth place for preferred foods," he added. The campaign by BE Vegan does not target the individual farmer, says the group, instead advocating that they must be helped to make the switch to animal-free and environmentally friendly alternatives, reports De Standaard. Jules Johnston The Brussels Times