Four female activists from the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) took to the stage with Senator Bernie Sanders to disrupt his speech and shine a light on the reality of the dairy industry.
Carla Cabral, Audrey Rees, and Rachel Ziegler all appeared topless dumping milk cartons filled with faux blood on themselves after Priya Sawhney took the microphone over saying:
“If Bernie truly cares about justice, he will stop propping up the dairy industry, which relies on the abuse of female cows,”.
Written across all of their chests as well as on a banner that was revealed from the crowd behind Bernie read “Let Dairy Die”.
The three brave animal rights activists who went topless were arrested on indecent exposure charges and are currently being held on $2,500 bail apiece.
Animal agriculture is dying and by some reports will collapse by 2030 especially the dairy industry that is struggling more year after year.
Recently the two largest dairy suppliers in the United States filed for bankruptcy showing just how far the industry is in the hole.
DxE is asking Bernie Sanders to stop supporting and protecting the dying dairy industry that he has helped funnel subsidies through many decades of legislation.
The animal rights group points to animal welfare concerns and the fact that there are so many plant-based vegan alternatives now that there’s no reason to keep supporting such a barbaric industry in the 21st century.
This protest was a war cry of sorts for DxE as they simultaneously released their shocking investigation showing the reality on the dairy farms that Ben & Jerry’s claims are “humane” and even have a “caring dairy” campaign that was dropped along with their “Happy Cows” marketing as a result of a lawsuit loss in January of this year.
DxE Found the rotting corpses of mothers and their babies left in large piles outside. They also found calves chained up and isolated in small hutches which is sadly the standard in the dairy industry because farmers can’t have babies stealing their product aka milk.
The below zero with wind chill temperatures and being openly exposed to the snowfall of the winter the babies stolen from their mothers were shaking either from the cold, out of fear or likely both.
These innocent calves went through all of that with no food or water even present for them adding insult to injury.
The conditions were so bad that Sherstin Rosenberg a veterinarian practicing in San Luis Obispo, California gave a written statement confirming the cruelty these calves were living in falls drastically far from the animal welfare standards that Ben & Jerry’s claims to uphold.
The Ben in Ben & Jerry’s Ben Cohen is a co-chair on the Sanders campaign and is also involved in the previously mentioned consumer fraud lawsuits that the company lost one of in January last month.
Sanders like many politicians on the campaign trail for this 2020 election cycle has plenty of criticism for factory farming and CAFO’s just not when it comes to the dairy industry. His conflict of interest is both obvious and notable as he has a long history of supporting the dairy industry.
In a 2009 agricultural appropriations bill that gave dairy $350 million in corporate welfare subsidies from the taxpayers Sanders personally wrote an amendment into the bill so the dairy industry could get that payout.
In 2018 Sanders also supported the 2018 Farm Bill that approved an astonishing $100 billion dollars of subsidies while it rejected numerous requests for it to prevent payouts to millionaires and billionaires.
“I love Bernie, but we must hold abusive industries accountable, not shield and subsidize them. Animal farming is an industry which gives welfare payments to millionaires,” Sawhney said. “People are fed up. Like the Sanders campaign itself, animal rights is a burgeoning mass movement.”
The activists say Sanders is just one prominent example of the corrupting political influence of a dairy industry which not only undermines animal welfare but has been cited as a major contributor to climate change:
- Mega-cooperative Dairy Farmers of America, which ostensibly exists to support dairy farmers, has instead paid out tens of millions in class action lawsuit settlements to its own member farmers in 2012 and 2018. St. Albans Cooperative Creamery in Sanders’ home state of Vermont was recently forced to merge with the DFA.
- Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, a top recipient of DFA campaign contributions, sponsored the Dairy Pride Act, which seeks to ban words like “milk” and “butter” in labelling dairy alternatives like soy milk. (Elizabeth Warren was a surprising 2018 sponsor of the Dairy Pride Act.)
- DxE activists have also exposed horrific dairy cruelty at a Wisconsin farm owned by state Assemblymember Gary Tauchen, who has co-authored a state-level parallel to the Dairy Pride Act.
- Like Sanders, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has exempted dairy from his Big Ag antitrust critiques since becoming CEO and President of U.S. Dairy Export Council, where he earns upwards of a million dollars a year.
For more information on the subsidies that dairy farmers and the industry itself receive check out our video on the subject here: