The dairy industry wants to counter vegan messaging through an initiative called Februdairy.
The scheme, which reportedly started in Australia, aims to flood social media with positive messages about milk production throughout February.
According to Independent Livestock Sustainability consultant Dr. Jude Capper: “Whenever I speak to groups I always say, you need five positive messages about farming to counter one negative one.
“#Februdairy will be one month of dairy people posting, liking and retweeting examples of what we do and why we do it.”
Dr. Capper wants farmers to show images and videos to counter anti-dairy sentiment.
She said: ” Often with people who oppose the dairy industry, if they can’t see it physically, they won’t believe that negative things aren’t happening – so short videos are perfect and we can all create them.”
A Twitter account – @februdairy – has been set up to share some of the pro-dairy content.
Dr. Capper has also provided a list of tips for farmers, telling them how to engage with people online.
She says industry members should answer and engage with ‘sensible’ questions, but shouldn’t reply to everybody as ‘some people who are rude or get personal will not be reasoned with’
She adds that answers to questions should be ‘short, positive and factual’, that ‘obvious untruths’ should be called out, and that people should not be blocked.
Dr. Capper wrote: “If you block people online they think you are ‘rattled’ or have something to hide. You can mute conversations of people who use unacceptable language or who are not interested in serious discussion.”
Some people online have already started hijacking the hashtag – using it to promote a pro-vegan message.
One Tweet says: “I am available for #Februdairy guest posts! This year let’s focus on the mastitis, the newborn calves forever taken from their mothers, and the recent slaughter of a half million productive cows due to milk price fluctuations.”
Another added: “#Februdairy: a desperate and sad attempt from the dairy industry to try and increase their sales when really more and more people don’t want to consume cow milk with hormones in it, it’s gross.”