Animal Friends sent a letter to Belje!
After several days of sharing on social media a story about a calf named Petra, who is looking for her mother, Animal Friends Croatia finally revealed what it is about. With their new campaign „Looking for a Queen”, they are publicly calling out one of the largest Croatian food industries, Belje, in particular their brand “Kravica Kraljica” (Cow Queen). As they claim, it is incorrect to call cows royal and then abduct their children immediately after birth and killing them after their milk production decreases.
„Prompted by the fact that Belje is, in the name of brand “Kravica Kraljica”- (Cow Queen), telling fairytales to the public about how their cows live as royalty, we decided to present the true version of the story. The truth about the cows is brutal and sad, as is brutal and sad the entire dairy industry. It is undeniable that every dairy farm takes cows’ young so they could take her milk and because of that the cows and the calves endure severe suffering. It is undeniable that the dairy industry kills the cows after they pass their “production period” of four and a half year on the average, as well as the male calves who cannot provide milk. This treatment is in no way “royal”, and that is why we publicly call out on Belje and the creator of brand “Kravica Kraljica”. The goal of our campaign ‘Looking for a Queen’ is to inform the consumers about the brutal truth hidden behind a carton of milk in their refrigerator”, campaign web page points out, along with very emotional illustrations of little Petra and her mom.
As they state, Belje with its campaign „Kravica Kraljica” is not an exemption in marketing presentation of happy cows, as this misleading advertising is a very common amongst dairy brands. However, with a very aggressive marketing approach and showing cows as happy royalty they have gone further than the others. Namely, calling royalty those who they continuously artificially inseminate, abduct their children and at the end send them to slaughterhouses is extreme exaggeration and cannot be further from the truth.
That is exactly why Animal Friends Croatia sent a letter to Belje’s Board President, that you can read at the bottom of the text. They have asked them for a permission to film the birth and the first day of the calves on one of their dairy farms so the interested public is allowed to evaluate on its own whether calves are separated from their mothers and whether if that is a royal treatment.
The whole letter addressed to Belje company:
Belje plus d.o.o.
Att. Mr. Damir Leko, Belje Board President
Industrijska zona 1, Mece
31 326 Darda
We are writing to you with reasonable doubt that the practices on Belje’s milk farms differ to those you present publicly as part of the marketing activities for brand Kravica Kraljica (Cow Queen).
As you know, newly born calves are immediately separated from their mothers on the farms supplying milk to your dairy. The fact is that in most of the cases calves are not allowed to suckle their mothers and even receive the colostrum through feeding devices. Separating the calf from the mother extremely stressful for these emotional animals and is accompanied by mutual sad and frightened calls. Mother cows often show pronounced symptoms of anxiety and mourning after being separated from their child, that manifests through depression, apathy and refusal of food.
In nature cows independently choose their partners, do not give birth often and they give birth at a certain time of the year. They spend even up to 14 months with the baby, until it is independent. They form strong relationships with calves, exchange tenderness and protect them. But, by you they are artificially inseminated from year to year, regardless of the toll it takes on their bodies, and after each pregnancy you take away their children.
Most of the cows on your farms are exhausted and their “production period” expires by the fifth year so you send them to be slaughtered and parts of their bodies you turn into meat products. Without continuous insemination, giving birth and separation from the young, they could live up to between 15 and 20 years.
Female calves, after they are grown, await the same fate as their mothers: cycle of continuous insemination, giving birth, taking away their children and turning them into the milking machines. Male calves after being some 20 days old you send to another farm for fattening and their final station is, as is for all milk industry victims, the slaughter house.
We believe that you are very aware how the described procedures, that are the standard practice for you and other larger farms, cannot be described as “royal”. We consider that it is your duty to share the real truth about milk production with your consumers and not to deceive them by naming the exploitative relationship towards the animals as royal.
We hereby ask your permission to film the birth and the first day of calves on one of your dairy farms to allow the interested public, consumers of your products and the media to judge for themselves whether calves are separated from their mothers and whether such treatment is royal. We would come for filming when it is most suitable for you, alone or in the company of journalist.
Thanking you in advance, with hope, for a quick reply.
President of the association Animal Friends Croatia