Today is an exciting day. I woke up to learn that Ben and Jerry’s have given in to millions of signed petitions and will be releasing a dairy free range next year. Vegan Ben and Jerry’s on a Friday night sounds like my idea of a lazy night in!
But my excitement isn’t just because I want to stuff my face with buckets of ice-cream (though that is certainly a contributor to my happiness right now…) I am also happy that the company, who pride themselves on caring about such issues as equal marriage, world peace, fairtrade and climate change, are finally putting their money where their mouth is.
Interestingly, Ben and Jerry’s claim they are passionate about climate change issues and have even joined forces with Avaaz to encourage people to sign a petition or action. In their own words they are “…calling on leaders of the developed nations and the United Nations to tackle climate change at the upcoming summit in Paris. Our goal is for international leaders to work towards 100% Clean Energy by 2050.” A heartfelt plea from a company whose very industry of mass exploitation and rearing of dairy cows is at the very core of our climates woes.
The WWF estimates that there are approximately 270 million dairy cows worldwide, all churning out babies they will never raise, simply to meet our growing dairy demands. Dairy cows and their manure produce greenhouse gas emissions which are greatly contributing to climate change. Poor handling of manure, which occurs in a large number of industrialised dairy farms, and their fertilizers degrade local water resources. Unsustainable dairy farming (in which standards are lowers and more land is needed) along with feed production can lead to the loss of ecologically important areas, such as prairies, wetlands, and forests.
But still, Ben and Jerrys have always maintained their passion for the planet. So their acknowledgement that dairy is not needed to make a successful and profitable business is very exciting indeed. Not just for vegans but literally for the whole planet!