Convincing Millennials You Do Not Abuse Your Cows

Published on: 14:03PM Jul 20, 2015

A disturbing number of millennials, those folks born between the 1980s and early 2000s, believe dairy farmers abuse their animals.

Thirty-five percent of the millennial generation now believes dairy farmers abuse their animals and that more than 50% of farms have a problem with animal care,” says David Pelzer, senior VP of strategic communications for Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI).

The problem is that most millennials get their news from the internet and social media, and simply don’t watch or believe network TV or read their local newspaper. Even worse, animal abuse videos never die on the internet.

The challenge, then, is to reach millennials where they live and in a way that they’ll actually watch and accept as credible. DMI is launching such an effort next week.

Under the banner of “Udder Truth,” DMI has produced three myth busting videos that have dairy farmers talk about cow care, antibiotic use and large farms. They’ll address myths such as milking machines that are left on cows all day long or it’s cruel to separate baby calves from their dams after birth.

DMI is also teaming up via paid content with The Onion,  which is a digital media company based entirely on satire. Millennials love this site, and yuck it up with headlines such as “Hundreds Of Cheap, Generic Doorstops Flood Market After Door Blocker Patent Runs Out” and “How To Successfully Sue Other Moms Who Steal Your Parenting Tricks.”

The Onion bloggers will use satire to depict the absurdity of common dairy myths, such as milk machines being left on cows 24/7.  The Onion’s sister site will also create a “listicle” of  “8 Pieces of Misinformation You Should Confidently Tell Everyone,” which also will include absurd dairy myths.

The content will reside at The videos go live on July 21, and articles will be metered out on July 21, July 28  and August 4.

A second part of the effort, “Acres and Avenues,” will be launched in mid to late August. It will create short videos, pairing up millennials with dairy farmers to talk about farmers’ attitudes toward their families, their animals and their land. These videos will be distributed through AOL and the Huffington Post, both of which also have strong millennial following.

DMI also hopes other media will pick up on the hubbub, showing the dairy industry fighting back against activist misinformation. And it expects social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to amplify the discussion even further.

The whole point of the effort is to engage millennials in the on-line, viral discussion. Part of the strategy is to actually provoke activists to respond. And when they do, millennials will see the nonsense of their arguments. At least that’s the hope.