OPINION: Februdairy Means The Farmers Are Fighting Back


4 Minutes Read

Dairy cows are seen as a commodity - rather than living creatures - by dairy farmers - Media Credit:

Veganuary. Movember. Decembeard. Go Sober For October.

The 2018 calendar is jam-packed with months that mean something to fundraisers and social justice defenders everywhere.


But there’s a new kid on the block this year. Februdairy.

The phrase was coined by farmers and launched last year, but it didn’t get the traction expected.

In February 2018 they’re at it again, only this time the vegan community is all over it.


Februdairy is described as ‘a chance for everyone to be grateful for our special relationship with cows’.

That special relationship being the one in which we impregnate the cow, take its baby, sell its milk and then send it to slaughter when it isn’t profitable for us anymore.

Special indeed.


Februdairy is part of a growing resistance to veganism.

This year will also see the launch of a £1.2 million advertising campaign to promote the benefits of the white stuff.

It’s being described as a chance to ‘re-establish’ credentials and ‘celebrate dairy’.

Dairy is facing stiff competition from plant-based milks


This announcement comes less than a year after the Advertising Standards Authority rejected complaints that an advert describing dairy farming as inhumane was misleading.

Advertising bosses allowed Go Vegan World to declare: “Humane Milk Is A Myth.”

Whoever thought we would see the day when that would happen?


It feels as though we’re finally winning this nonviolent battle.

Whilst meat and fish counters are closing across the country, sales of plant-based alternatives are up by as much as 25 percent.

The global meat market is being warned to ‘wake up’ by industry experts, as it’s losing ground to the alternative protein sector.

More people than ever before are ditching dead animals and opting for the vegan options most supermarkets and restaurants seem suddenly so eager to provide.


But more telling than anything else is the farming industry’s reaction to what vegans are doing.

The industry has never felt as though it has to defend its practices before. 

Suddenly it does.

Februdairy is the perfect opportunity for vegans to put cows front and centre.


Most people can understand why a person might not want to eat meat, but avoiding taking milk from a cow is almost incomprehensible to those who are willing to actually eat an animal.

When you’re living with a general population who can’t see what’s wrong with engineering the birth and growth of an animal with the same level of intelligence as a three-year-old child just so that s/he can be killed and turned into bacon, how are you ever going to convince them that it isn’t ok to take milk from one?

Luckily activists recognize this.

More people are learning about the ethical issues around dairy


We’re reasonably far from February yet, but the Februdairy Twitter hashtag is already bursting with vegans and the things they have to say.

There’s an official vegan Facebook page and activists up and down the country are frantically pulling together memes, gifs and infographics depicting what it really means to take milk from a cow.

In Newcastle, the Northern Animal Welfare Cooperative has planned dairy-specific outreach activities, where organizer John Lord says they’ll be highlighting the poor nutritional aspects of dairy to the public.

He adds: “We’ll also be talking about the inherent cruelty in the dairy industry.”


Doesn’t the saying go ‘first they laugh, then they fight you, then you win’?

Well it seems the farming industry doesn’t find us funny anymore.

It’s finally recognizing that we mean real business here. We’re worthy of an advertising campaign to counteract our actions.

Demon vegans

We’re inspiring farm-focused hashtags. Last year an industry writer was quoted as saying that the ‘assault by demon vegans‘ is one of the major challenges facing farmers in 2018.

The article rightly pointed out that we’re still out here; smarter, more determined and better financed than we have ever been before.

Making a difference

We need to keep doing what we’re doing because it’s working. The stickering, protesting and Facebook posts.

The liking, sharing and standing in a cube with a mask on. The endless trudging up and down city streets. The vigils. It’s all making the difference we want it to make.

Februdairy is just another indication of this. The farmers are fighting back – and that is something we should all be incredibly happy about.

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