If you missed #Februdairy – it was an initiative launched to promote the dairy industry during the month of February, particularly on Twitter, with the hashtag Februdairy and positive posts about dairy farming.
The dairy industry are worried about people shunning milk and dairy products so they are trying to convince us that we ‘need’ milk, that cows and calves are perfectly happy and that somehow cattle farming is environmentally friendly. Their posts on social media were easy to pick apart with simple logic and facts.
We came prepared
Viva! and Viva!Health shared many eye-opening posts throughout #Februdairy and rank amongst the top influencers on Twitter for this campaign. An analysis of the hashtags most often used together with #Februdairy reveals the main trend for this initiative – ditch dairy and go vegan! These messages, along with unpleasant dairy facts, reached hundreds of thousands of people.
The truth is, #Februdairy spectacularly backfired and instead of improving the public image of dairy, helped to educate people about where milk comes from, all the cruel practices involved and how drinking milk harms our health.
A number of dairy farmers sharing their experience or advice about animal management were called out for using bad practices. Many of these posts and discussions were later deleted but there are still plenty of screenshots as evidence.
Heated debates on TV and radio helped educate people about the harsh realities of dairy farming. #Februdairy certainly helped to get the dairy debate going but not in the direction the industry intended!
Dairy industry clutching at straws
On Pancake Day, out of desperation, the dairy proponents tried to convince people on Twitter that you can’t make pancakes without cow’s milk and in response were inundated with vegan pancake photos and recipes from far and wide.
Later on, the AHDB Dairy (Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board - Dairy) launched a second phase of their mega campaign to promote dairy with a range of adverts by ‘The Department of Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs’. This includes a myriad of posters, billboards, videos and social media posts trying to convince people that they ‘want’ dairy products. The industry are not permitted to say dairy is healthy or humane (having already been called out on this) so they are playing the only card they have.
Viva!Health complained about the first wave of adverts relying on the word ‘wholesome’ both in the title of the spoof department and in the tagline ‘be wholesome’ and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) partially agreed so the new adverts quietly replaced the word ‘wholesome’ with ‘scrumptious’. Of course, we’d rather see the adverts disappear but at least the campaign now can’t claim dairy is wholesome!
And what about the pro-dairy @Februdairy Twitter account? Well, it had 1,700 followers at the start of February and has 2,170 at the end of it, certainly not a success!
#Februdairy helped us shed more light on why cruelty is inherent in the dairy industry – that babies can’t be humanely torn away from their mums, humanely killed or that cows milked to exhaustion can’t be happy. It also helped to highlight why ditching dairy is a healthy move and how many alternatives there are. So thanks to #Februdairy, there are more vegans in the world now!
For more information on dairy production and consumption, go to www.whitelies.org.uk.