British dairy farmers started out their 2018 hoping to engage with people hot off the tails of their #Veganuary challenges by inundating social media with posts filled with cheese toasties and pints of semi-skimmed.
#Februdairy was a campaign launched by an ex-vegan animal scientist to celebrate the greatness of all things dairy and even included a #MilkPintChallenge that would encourage people to drink a pint of milk and then nominate others to follow suit. Dairy farmers were hoping to set the record straight amidst what they claim to be ‘misinformation’ about the industry and its treatment of animals — which has been widely touted from activists and pro-vegan organizations worldwide.
But even in the days leading up to #Februdairy, pro-dairy supporters were met with impassioned plant-based dieters and influencers from YouTube to Twitter.
It’s the last week of #Februdairy. Can’t pretend that we’re not going to miss it – but we can celebrate moo-vellous #dairy #farmers every day of the year with #milk, #cheese, #butter and #yogurt! pic.twitter.com/xJTdUqcMbd
— Februdairy (@februdairy) February 26, 2018
Nevertheless, dairy farmers persisted.
Cornwall farmer, Jennifer Down, told Farmers Guardian, “Everyone should get involved with #Februdairy as I think it is a great opportunity, not just for farmers but consumers as well, to join in the celebration of dairy farming.”
“Over the 28 days of February we are looking for everyone to post positive pictures or quotes – whether it be pictures of eating yogurt or milking the cows – all are welcome in the celebration.”
The dairy farming industry’s hope with its plethora of photos showcasing cute cows, cheeseburgers and tall drinks of milk was that consumers would see the more humane side of dairy farming, and start to load their grocery baskets full of butter and cheddar.
But their optimism was met with opposition – it would appear that, for some, #Februdairy was a campaign convincing them to quit dairy full stop.
All the #Februdairy tweets are heartbreaking. Bought my first non dairy milk yesterday and hopefully I can find alternatives for everything else dairy too. Gotta start somewhere..
— Sarah 🧢 (@RealslimsadieX) February 27, 2018
'The Times' reports today about the doubling of live exports of dairy calves from Scotland to Spain – a journey taking upto 135 hours. They are then brought up in conditions which would be illegal in the UK. #Februdairy has certainly helped to reveal the true cost of milk pic.twitter.com/pFQ8b4qA4o
— Alan Watson Ⓥ (@Alan_Watson_) February 26, 2018
#Februdairy even had its internal critics, for example, National Farmers Union, Scotland’s Glasgow President, Andrew McCornick.
#Februdairy: Did the dairy farming industry’s campaign get a ‘raw deal’? #Veganuary #Vegan
McCornick claims that the #Februdairy campaign is, “counterproductive,” stating, “I don’t think doing #Februdairy is a good idea, to be honest, because I feel it adds fuel to the fire, and opens dairy farmers, in particular, to more criticism, and it ends up being counterproductive.”
McCornick further expressed, “I think what we want to be doing is looking at the real figures of how many people are vegan, and how many people stick with it, that’s what I want to know because it is not an easy choice.”
Statistics only further back up McCornick’s sentiments, with veganism up over 340% in the past decade and #Veganuary’s participants shooting from 3,300 people in 2014 to nearly 150,000 in 2018.
In addition to activism and awareness on social media, celebrities have become a significant wave in the ever-growing body of pro-vegan water with the likes of Ellie Goulding, Jessica Chastain, and Liam Hemsworth promoting the plant-based lifestyle to their followings and beyond.
18 Celebrities who prove veganism is the fountain of youth https://t.co/Gqo2f3P8BX
— Mercy For Animals (@MercyForAnimals) February 27, 2018
Having followed the successful #Veganuary campaign during January, some say that #Februdairy was ‘dead meat’ before the first of the month arrived.
Twitter can be a tough place to present a controversial opinion, and #Februdairy was no exception, but not all who support the pro-vegan message also support those voicing it via a platform of hateful words and propaganda.
I will always support positive vegans in vegan twitter, but not the ones who strive off of conflict/ drama, they know who they are. I still am vegan & always will be vegan regardless, but please know I will no longer be associated with vegan twitter anymore. Thank you. Much love.
— lauren (@ahxmsa) February 24, 2018
Maybe #MeatyMarch will moo-ve some people back to the chopping board?
— #MeatyMarch (@MeatBritFarming) February 6, 2018
I’m thinking dairy farmers may receive another raw deal.
Would you switch to a vegan diet?