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Date: July 16, 2002

Group to Launch Anti-Dairy Campaign Thursday

Sacramento, CA . . . Citing humane, health, and environmental reasons, the veggie activist group Viva! will launch a national anti-dairy, consumer campaign at the State Capitol (west steps, facing 10th Street) on Thursday, July 18 at 11 a.m. The event will feature free servings of non-dairy ice cream. Viva! will also release undercover video footage documenting shockingly cruel and squalid conditions on mega dairies in California.

Viva!'s campaign takes particular aim at California - the nation's top dairy producing state - and its 2,700 dairies that confine an estimated 1.5 million cows and produce an astounding 30 million tons of manure each year. The U.S. EPA considers management of dairy waste a top environmental issue for California; in 1998, the State Water Resources Control Board reported the water quality of nine rivers and 49 ground water basins were contaminated by animal operations.

Locally, Viva! is helping to organize a coalition of local residents, environmentalists, and animal advocates to oppose two mega-dairy operations - with 6,000 cows a piece - in nearby Dixon.

"The image of bucolic dairies where happy cows graze on green grass is pure illusion," said lauren Ornelas, U.S. director of Viva! "The reality is something far different. These dairies cause hidden suffering for cows and their calves while wreaking ecological havoc in our communities."

Viva!'s investigations document that cows in mega-dairies are confined to dirt and/or cement-floored enclosures. Continually impregnated to keep the supply of milk flowing, their calves are taken away when they are just hours old. Male calves are shipped off to confinement farms where they will be slaughtered for veal; females are chained to, or confined in, small huts until they are old enough to be impregnated and begin producing milk. The constantly pregnant and lactating cows are spent by age 5 or 6 when they are slaughtered. A cow's normal lifespan is 25 years.

Viva!'s anti-dairy campaign will kick into high gear on Sunday July 21 - "National Ice Cream Day" - when Viva! activists will fan out across the U.S. to dispense vegan ice cream in front of Baskin Robbins stores. Viva! is lobbying the giant ice cream chain to start carrying a vegan ice cream.

"Our message to consumers is: there is a simple way to fight this shocking cruelty and environmental pollution -say no to milk and dairy products and enjoy the wide range of delicious dairy free alternatives available in supermarkets," Ornelas concluded. "Going dairy free is the clearest choice available for helping animals and the environment today."

About us: Viva!, an international organization, has its national headquarters in Davis, CA. VIDEO and PHOTOS taken of dairy farms in the U.S., mostly in California, and a detailed media briefing of the industry will be available at the event or by contacting Viva! at 530/759-8482 or at www.vivausa.org.