Nov. 2 2016 01:00 AM

Poultry producers have garnered a lot of unwanted attention from animals activists… could dairy farmers be next?

For the past year or two, the egg industry has borne the brunt of the major fury from animal rights activist organizations. These organizations have campaigned hard on hen housing, pushing for a shift to cage-free production using tactics like pressure campaigns targeting restaurants and retailers, undercover video releases, and ballot initiatives like question 3 in Massachusetts.

Could the dairy industry be the next prime target?

It appears the answer is yes, at least for one group. Mercy for Animals lists “dairy cow welfare” as one of its priorities for “Corporate Outreach.” In other words, they will attempt to convince public-facing food brands into adopting certain policies. Subscribers to its e-mail list have received two dairy-focused messages in September alone – one headlined “Dairy’s Dark Secret,” and the other “Dying for Dairy.”

Mercy for Animals believes its tactics are successful, with its founder Nathan Runkle stating, “The animal agriculture industry is slowly sinking,” while speaking at the National Animal Rights Conference this summer. At that same event, one of his colleagues said, “We need to shed a light on the animal agriculture industry and focus on education, legislation, and investigation.”

Light being shed on the dairy industry is not a bad thing, but it needs to be done by the dedicated individuals who work in the industry every day, not by an organization that by its own admission is “inspiring more people to move toward vegan eating.” Dairy Management Inc. has a wealth of resources available to communicate about the dairy industry at I encourage you to check that out and help amplify the message.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance also has a variety of information on our website, from profiles of major activist organizations to our web showing how these different groups are connected, as well as proactive communication tools like infographics. If we can help share our nearly 30 years of history tracking these issues with you, please don’t hesitate to contact us at

The dairy industry has a wonderful story to share about its commitment to continuous improvement in animal welfare, sustainability, food safety, and more. Let’s come together and tell it.

Hannah Thompson-Weeman

Hannah Thompson-Weeman is communications director for Animal Agriculture Alliance.