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Digital Subscriptions > Vegan Life > May 2017 > Got mylk?

Got mylk?

It’s been a big couple of years for veganism – and the dairy industry is taking it personally

The National Farmers’ Union issued its battle cry in the form of a strongly worded letter to The Sunday Times. “[Pro vegan] adverts like this dishearten the nation’s dairy farmers,” wailed NFU dairy board chairman and dairy farmer Michael Oakes.

The advert he was referring to was part of Go Vegan World’s ongoing campaign to promote veganism. As part of the initiative, the group had paid for a full page ad in the weekend paper. The message on the page was: “Dairy Takes Babies from their Mothers.” While he didn’t refute the central claim in the advertisement, he did say that animal welfare is paramount to dairy farmers – whether the animals are destined for the meat or dairy chain. Most significantly, he described Go Vegan World’s claims as ‘misleading’.

According to the vegan group, it was not trying to mislead anyone, rather depict an accurate picture of the dairy industry – and one that is supported by evidence. GVW campaign director – and founder of the Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary – Sandra Higgins said: “For the NFU to defend the dairy industry by referring to animal welfare and benign treatment entirely misses the point of the campaign.

“Veganism is about justice. Justice can’t be accorded to others unless we are willing to swap places with them. None of us would voluntarily choose the life and death of any mammal used in the dairy industry or any other form of animal agriculture or animal use. The only way to be fair is to abolish all use of them. There is no need for farmers to feel threatened or disheartened about veganism. We will need and value farmers more than ever in a vegan world.

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About Vegan Life

The vegan momentum keeps building. We have seen a huge increase in our numbers over the last few years, and now there are more and more plant-based projects hitting the mainstream consciousness. One of the most exciting is film Carnage by comedian Simon Amstell released earlier this spring. This excellent mockumentary (which is available on BBC iPlayer) has won acclaim from vegans and carnists alike. It is witty, intelligent and acerbic, being both informative and entertaining while never venturing into the dreaded ‘preachy’ territory. Our roving journalist (and vegan pioneer in her own right) Louise Wallis attended a special press screening with Mr Amstell himself. Her report makes for fascinating reading. Also highly visible in the mainstream are Go Vegan World posters and campaign materials. Many of you have spotted (and snapped) these images on billboards, bus shelters, newspapers and even taxis, but the biggest spot of all was at a huge international rugby match. We sat down with Go Vegan World founder Sandra Higgins to discuss how her work is changing hearts and minds. We had a very special guest come to Vegan Life HQ for a photoshoot – and you can see the results on the cover of this issue. World class athlete and vegan activist Timothy Shieff is an inspiring figure for so many in the community, so it was a privilege to chat with him for a special feature profile. There’s lots of evidence to show that more consumers (vegan and otherwise) are starting to embrace plant-based products – especially dairy alternatives like soya and almond milk. This seems to have hit a nerve with some in the dairy industry who are starting to hit back, with the National Farmers’ Union calling campaigns like the ones by Go Vegan World ‘disheartening’ for dairy farmers. We decided to dig deep into this growing tension between the dairy industry and vegans to bring you an in-depth feature. Have a great month.
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