Unhappy California Cows

In April, the advocacy group Last Chance for Animals (LCA) filed a complaint with the California Attorney General’s Office against the California Milk Advisory Board, the group responsible for the “Happy Cow” commercials. The ads feature healthy, cheerful cows who enjoy plenty of green grass, sunlight, and space, along with the slogan: “Happy cows make great cheese” and “Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.”

LCA included with the complaint footage their investigator shot at several California dairies. The farms are members of the California Dairies, which is in turn a member of the Advisory Board, the group behind the commercials.

According to the LCA, the cows captured by their cameras are anything but “happy”, and that the cows are, in fact, knee deep in mud, unable to graze, and they do not have even a fraction of the space the “happy cows” in the CMAB ads enjoy, charging that the CMAB deliberately deceived the public to induce them to buy California cheese.


Photo © Amit Bar

That’s called effective marketing, geniuses.

Author’s Note: Clearly, not all the happy cows live in California. These two are from Holland.

We should all lovingly embrace our happy cows.

I’ll take the one on the right.

Despite the typically juvenile intelligence of the American public, even of average free-thinking Californians, I hardly expect that the general population believes that free-range cows really do talk amongst themselves, sing songs to pass the time, or audition for television commercials.

Otherwise, what next? Is the LCA planning to file complaints against equally deceptive Laughing Cow (happy cows in France), Dancing Cow (happy cows in Vermont), and Silly Cow (more happy cows in Vermont)? Then on to Happy Goat (California), Happy Pig (Florida), Happy Horse (Colorado), and Happy Hippo (Montana)?

Part of what makes America great is the freedom to express yourself and your ideas. Part of what makes America not so great is the abuse of that freedom by people with loud voices, deep pockets, a cause, and nothing better to do than to push their beliefs, morals, and viewpoints onto everyone else.

Focus not on whether the public is deceived into believing that earthquakes help California cows make better milk shakes, but instead towards actually making things better for the cows.

Better we all focus our litigious energies elsewhere — clowns. Clowns aren’t really happy; they’re just painted to look that way. Deliberately and deceptively.

8 Responses to “Unhappy California Cows”

  1. Sean

    “Yes, yes. Don’t waste your legal budget over there. Far better to spend your dollars over here, on MY pet peeve. With my intelligence and free choice I’m so much more deserving of your compassion and assistance than those helpless bovines.” (Hey, you KNOW what kind of a mood I’m in today. Even friends better run for cover.)

  2. Kathy Hodson

    I agree wholeheartedly! Give me a break! And I bet this group also thinks that Eve actually picked an apple from the tree and forced Adam to eat it. Maybe I’m a sucker for happy commercials and creative advertising, but in the morning when I’m getting ready for work and I hear Janice and Diane chatting about tipping cows in Wisconsin or the Bear on the California flag, it lifts my spirits. I even gave one of my friends, who is lucky to have the name Janice, a darling cow for her birthday. She loved it, especially when she found out the cow’s name was Janice. I’m trying to find the California Cow website. I might even be one of those brainwashed consumers who will buy a T-shirt with “Happy Cows”. Life is way too short – someone needs to get a real life and find something much more worthwhile to complain about. Go to Afghanistan and see how the other world actually lives. Go to the movie “Bowling for Columbine” and see how our country and the Americans kill people with the thousands of guns in our country. Very frightening stuff. Thanks for letting me vent! I’m happy to live where I live and I bought cheese even before I met Janice and Diane.

  3. Kevin

    I was wondering about those ads when I drove to UC Davis to see my brother. On the way to Davis from Los Angeles, there was like a 200-300 mile long section [where] I had problems breathing. I saw no grass, instead I saw dark and gray matter and could smell [the] awful smell of death. Those cows live in their own shìt. A bunch of rednecks are running those slaughter houses and they have nothing in their mind but money. I bet the cause of various cancers and diseases in California can be lead back to the “cow industry”. They are poisoning us in the name of economics. [I’d] rather pay more for meat and milk than be killed by it. They feed the cows powdered food that is dry, rotten meat that was returned from stores. Those idiots are actually hurting their own business. From now on I [would] rather take calcium pills and eat no meat until they clean up their act. When it comes to food we should follow the example of Germany. They have strict rules about their food. The meat in Germany actually tastes like meat and you won’t get cancer when you eat it. So what if it’s more expensive? I guarantee that EVERYONE wants good quality meat at higher prices than low, cancer-causing meat at cheap prices.

    • Connie

      Hey Kevin! That powdered food you THINK they feed the cows IS NOT ROTTEN MEAT! It is a ration that consists of ground-up hay, grass and grains (corn, barley, oats etc.), and is commonly referred to as “silage” or “prepared feed”. Depending on the region, potatoes may also be added as well as other vegetables and cereal grains. And I doubt that this “area” was 200-300 miles long. I bet if you drove near your city’s sewage plant you would smell something a lot worse – human waste. Animals must get rid of their fluids and solids the same as a human. As for quality of air – I can’t breathe either when I hit your cities. If you have any access to cancer statistics – I would venture a guess that the rate of cancer is much higher in urban areas as opposed to rural. One only has to see the smog hovering over a city to decide which has the better quality of air. As for their living conditions it is physically and financially impossible to remove each pile of poop. I daresay, the cat or dog which uses its litterbox, turns around in it, scratches in it, then walks through the house and perhaps jumps into your lap is not any cleaner than the cows. From a lady in agriculture – we raise “the beef”.

    • Richard

      I’ll take both sides here! Connie is correct about the cow’s diet and also correct that the isolated area along Highway 5 to which you refer is only several miles long. Yes, the area is quite, shall we say, pungent?! In the United States, the milk and beef industry is one of the most pollutive and ecologically damaging industries, mostly due to runoff, disposal and storage of bovine excrement, and the environmental resources consumed to support all those cows. In the year 2000, Germany had about 14 million livestock, whereas the United States had 97 million. Those US cows consumed 2.8 billion bushels of corn and 112 millions tons of hay while living on 143 million acres of pasture and grazing lands. If you have a alternative and viable plan to supply 300 million Americans with enough milk and beef, please submit it now! Oh, and so far the only bans on US beef have been a result of added hormones, whereas all countries in the EU except for Sweden and Austria have experienced cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, including Germany, mostly due to lapses in the their “strict” controls. I’d like to see any research showing the connection between cancer and beef production in the United States. – RDL

  4. Janice Farmer

    My name is Janice and my sister’s name is Diane. I am a science teacher, and can appreciate the concerns of all sides in this issue. But GET REAL! The advertisements are HYSTERICAL. The first time I heard the one about cow tipping, I laughed so hard it made tears come to my eyes. I pursued this website so that I could (1) purchase two stuffed cows for Christmas, and (2) talk to the advertisers about putting together cow costumes, so that my sister and I could wear them at the Bay To Breakers race in San Francisco in May. There is so much to worry about in our world today. Can’t we find it in ourselves to have a little fun?

  5. diann

    Having a friend in my office named Janice and of course my name is Diann even though spelled different. The first time I heard the cow commercial with Janice and diane the talking cows I started laughing so hard that I thought people driving by me in their cars would think I was crazy. My question is where can I buy this stuffed beauties. :) Stop worrying about things that aren’t as important as the things we really need to concern ourselves with in this world. Laughter helps so much so relax and laugh. Diann Theis Sacramento, CA

  6. Flo

    No way can California make better cheese than Wisconsin.

    Nevertheless, the cow commercials are hysterical and I love them.


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