People in the California dairy industry were understandably upset when it was discovered that there was a large model cow wearing a gas mask in an exhibit at the Monterey Bay Acquarium. According to Western United Dairymen's newsletter, Weekly Update, WUD field rep Dennis Miguel visited the exhibit and reported what he saw.
The exhibit, which focused on global warming, was titled Hot Pink Flamingos: Stories of Hope in a Changing Sea. The model cow wearing a gas mask was accompanied by a recording: "Buurp! I can't believe I'm saying this, but what the world needs now is less methane, and that means fewer cows." The exhibit also stated, according to the WUD newsletter, "The best way to reduce methane is to eat less beef and drink less milk."
Western United reports that the exhibit sparked a controversy that resulted in creation of a Facebook Fan Page called "People avoiding Monterey Bay Acquarium until they take the cow down!" The page had 2,550 fans when the April 16 WUD newsletter went to press.
The one positive aspect of the exhibit was that it pointed out that methane from cow manure can be used to generate electricity.
Stan Andre, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board, in a letter to the Monterey Herald, explained that the dairy industry has reduced the carbon footprint of dairy products by 63 percent over the past 60 years. He also spelled out the economic impact that the dairy industry has in California.
In its blog, the acquarium defended the cow and gas mask as a way "to dramatize the point." And it didn't seem to indicate that the exhibit would be changed.