Animal legal rights campaign group Dier & Recht must remove posters saying separating a calf from its mother at birth constitutes serious animal suffering, a court in Amsterdam decided this week.
The court said the campaign ‘Quitting dairy’, which shows posters of dairy products carrying a health warning similar to that on cigarettes, put farmers in a negative light, confirming an earlier lower court verdict.
The animal rights group was taken to court by farmers’ organisation Agractie.
Dier & Recht says the calves are isolated for weeks after the separation, causing fear, stress and illnesses, often ending in death.
The court admitted the calves have more health problems but said Dier & Recht had insufficiently proven that the practice of separation at birth is the cause.
‘This verdict is frankly bizarre,’ Dier & Recht said in a statement. ‘The dairy industry has been free to say ‘milk is good for all’ while over half of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. But if we say that calves suffer because they have to grow up without a mother, we go too far.’
The organisation also said the verdict was ‘worrying because the interests of the industry prevail over freedom of expression’.
Agractie has not yet reacted to the decision of the court but said earlier that ‘safe and honest dairy is essential for the welfare of millions of babies and children.’
Dier & Recht has said it is contemplating further legal action and is continuing the campaign with adapted posters on bus shelters in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Haarlem.
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