Praise Improved Welfare Standards at Major Dairy Producer


Target: Gary Vanic, Chief Executive Officer, Great Lakes Cheese

Goal: Applaud cheese company’s comprehensive new animal rights regulations.

Improved animal welfare standards have been implemented by Ohio-based Great Lakes Cheese, a major American dairy producer. The family-owned company will demand that its suppliers follow strict rules concerning the treatment, housing, and handling of animals in order to uphold its pledge to eliminate animal cruelty within its supply chain. The changes will affect dozens of farms across the country, and benefit thousands of dairy cows.

The set of rules, which will include a medical treatment plan that emphasizes prevention of disease and injury, rapid diagnosis, and quick decisions on treatment of ill or injured cattle, has been called one of the most comprehensive plans implemented by any major U.S. dairy producer. It takes a zero-tolerance stance against animal cruelty of any sort.

In a statement, the company announced that it will phase out tail docking by 2018, and require pain medication when the procedure is medically necessary. It will require anesthetics during horn removal, and require the procedure to be done before eight weeks when the horns are small and soft. Suppliers will be required to provide clean and dry living quarters for all cattle, as well as regular veterinary checkups. Furthermore, all employees will be required to complete annual courses on the proper handling of animals.

Modern consumers are increasingly demanding humanely sourced, cruelty-free meats, cheeses, and eggs. By demanding improved animal welfare practices, Great Lakes Cheese could be setting a new industry standard. Sign the petition below to applaud the company’s stance on animal welfare, which will improve the quality of life of tens of thousands of cattle.


Dear Mr. Gary Vanic,

Great Lakes Cheese recently announced comprehensive new animal welfare rules to be implemented at all its suppliers. These rules include a ban on tail docking and a requirement that all horn removals are performed with painkillers. Medical care standards have also been put in place, requiring regular veterinary checkups for all animals as well as annual animal welfare courses for employees.

As one of America’s largest independent producers of cheese, this move will set a precedent for animal welfare in the dairy industry. With the growing demand for responsibly sourced foods, other producers may begin to follow suit. We, the undersigned, applaud your commitment to the welfare of your animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Keith Weller/USDA via Public Domain

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