Dairy Industry Is Sucking the State Dry: Not Watering Lawns, Skimping on Showers Is Comparative Drop in the Bucket, Says PETA
For Immediate Release:
August 14, 2014
Alexis Sadoti 202-483-7382
Sacramento, Calif. – As one of the worst droughts in modern California history persists with no let-up in sight, PETA sent a letter this morning asking Gov. Jerry Brown to get serious about the crisis by dropping his support of California’s dairy industry, eating and promoting Earth-friendly vegan meals, and advocating a ban on dairy products in the state capitol building.
As PETA notes in the letter, the steps that Brown has so far taken to promote water conservation—such as asking restaurants to serve water only upon request and issuing fines for running a hose—are relatively meaningless, especially in light of his staunch support of California’s water-wasting dairy industry, which last year required a whopping 4.79 trillion gallons of water, or enough for every resident of California to continue his or her normal outdoor water use for 3½ years. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that every Californian who goes vegan can reduce his or her diet-related water consumption by 60 percent.
“The California dairy industry is sucking our state dry,” writes PETA Executive Vice President (and California resident) Tracy Reiman in her letter to the governor. “Any discussion about water conservation must include a long, hard look at the animal agriculture industry, and we ask that you lead the way by going vegan and encouraging Californians to do the same.”
I am writing as a California resident on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our hundreds of thousands of members across the state regarding our dire drought. While encouraging people to take shorter showers, turn off the water while they brush their teeth, and wash full loads of laundry is a positive step, I think you know that these measures are a drop in the bucket compared to the massive amounts of water required to raise animals for food. The California dairy industry is sucking our state dry, and if we want to get serious about ending this critical water shortage, I urge you, with all due respect, to do three things right away: Go vegan and encourage other Californians to do the same; withdraw your support of the wasteful dairy industry—a political hot potato, we realize; and advocate for a ban on dairy products at the state capitol building.
Your promotion of the California dairy industry during this unprecedented drought, including by declaring June to be “Real California Milk” Month, is reckless, wrong, and counterproductive. Last year, cows on dairy farms in California required a whopping 4.79 trillion gallons of water. That’s enough for all California residents to continue their normal outdoor water use for three and a half years. Issuing huge fines to ordinary people for running a hose while pandering to big agriculture by encouraging citizens to “support our industry by buying milk and other dairy products from our Golden State” is outrageous.
Furthermore, asking restaurants and hotels to serve water only on request is trivial considering that just two slices of cheese require 55 gallons of water—enough to fill 440 glasses—to produce. It takes an estimated 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of cow’s milk but only 50 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of soy milk, so going vegan and asking your constituents to follow suit would be the single most effective and genuinely helpful thing that you could do to end this drought. And what better place to start than at the capitol? Getting food vendors in the capitol building to remove dairy products from their menus would set a positive example for the rest of the state to follow. Every Californian who follows your lead and goes vegan would reduce his or her diet-related water consumption by 60 percent!
Any discussion about water conservation must include a long, hard look at the animal agriculture industry, and we ask that you lead the way by going vegan and encouraging Californians to do the same. I’m sending you a copy of PETA’s vegan starter kit (viewable here), and PETA would gladly make this resource available to every person in the capitol building and every citizen. I would also be happy to answer any questions. Thank you for your consideration.