Discussion Forums


The forums are open for viewing, but closed to new registrations.

To post or start a new topic you need to be a subscriber or already registered.

Click on a forum name to see the list of topics beneath it. 

Click on a topic name to see the posts and comments.

Dairy V non-dairy yoghurt
Last Post 02/09/2015 22:56:18 by Ingavdh. 3 Replies.
Printer Friendly
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Sort:
PrevPrev NextNext
You are not authorized to post a reply.
Author Messages
davel
New Member
New Member
Posts:3


--
08/05/2015 13:11:27
    Your product guide for yoghurt wisely includes both dairy-based and non-dairy alternatives. When using the customizable scorecard feature to place full emphasis on "animals" (weighting all other categories at the minimum), I was surprised to find that both dairy-based and non-dairy yoghurts are able to maintain the full 14 points available!

    This points to a major weakness in your chosen indicators if the "animal" category is unable to discriminate ethically between dairy and non-dairy. I know that you are fully aware of the ethical issues surrounding dairy, given the reference to the Viva! report at the bottom of the yoghurt page.

    So let's consider the indicators you use: animal testing, factory farming, and animal rights. I can accept the operationalization of the first two indicators and the conclusion that some dairy producers will retain full points for these categories. However, the measures you use under animal rights are illogical, incoherent and morally inconsistent. Those who lose points are:

    "Companies that have been accused or prosecuted for cruelty to animals are criticised here." - fair enough!

    "Also found here are activities that might lead to animal suffering - such as zoos and circuses, or using animals to advertise products." - why do you not include the raising of animals for food as an activity that might lead to suffering - given the forced insemination, branding etc, removal of calves from mothers, confinement and slaughter which we know to be the reality of the industry? Surely the known suffering in the dairy industry warrants at least as much concern as the potential suffering of a well trained dog used in advertising.

    "It also includes the use of slaughterhouse by-products - such as leather or gelatine." - it includes by-products, but not primary products? Are you serious? How can you possibly justify this selective approach, which allows food producers who systematically breed and raise animals for slaughter to maintain an ethical score regarding their treatment of animals which is equal to that of a food producer which avoids all animal suffering through the avoidance of all animal products?

    In the interest of ethics and full disclosure, I would appreciate an answer to my concerns.
    heatheradmin
    Senior Member
    Senior Member
    Posts:172


    --
    08/05/2015 14:38:19
    Hi Davel,

    Thank you for your post. I totally agree this does not make sense. One of the reasons for this is the information held on some of the companies is over 5 years old. Once a criticism about a company is over 5 years old it stops scoring and therefore the sliders will not show you the distinction you are looking for between the dairy and non-dairy yoghurt producers.

    We are only a small team so we are unable to keep every guide up to date and therefore the score table will be taken down from this report. Sorry for any confusion.

    We absolutely believe that raising animals for food includes suffering whether this is through conventional or organic methods so all companies who sell / produce dairy or meat or fish products will receive a criticism under our animal rights category. If companies sell dairy, meat or fish products raised under factory farming conditions they will receive an additional mark under that category.

    You might be interested in our separate reports to milk and milk alternatives which you can find under the drinks section.

    You will notice in the milk report we didn't mark companies down under our factory farming category. This is because according to Compassion in World Farming “in the UK most dairy cows still have access to grazing on pasture for part of the day in summer.”

    However CIWF does also state that “more cows are being kept indoors for longer, or even all year round. This is known as ‘zero grazing’, and is increasingly used in North America and parts of the UK for large and high yielding herds.”

    Ethical Consumer is currently undertaking a review of our animal rights and factory farming categories and this position may be revised.

    I hope this has answered your questions and concerns. If you have any more questions about the way we rate companies please do not hesitate to ask.

    Kind regards,

    Heather
    davel
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:3


    --
    19/05/2015 08:50:54
    Dear Heather,
    thank you for your reply. As a researcher, I am fully aware of the challenges related to data collection - but it is really your chosen indicators which I have questioned. You state in your reply that "all companies who sell / produce dairy or meat or fish products will receive a criticism under our animal rights category" - which I agree is simple common sense (although I would also include companies which USE animal products eg wine producers). However, the explanation of what is considered under animal rights in the guides reads as follows:

    (a) Companies that have been accused or prosecuted for cruelty to animals are criticised here.
    (b) Also found here are activities that might lead to animal suffering - such as zoos and circuses, or using animals to advertise products.
    (c) It also includes the use of slaughterhouse by-products - such as leather or gelatine.

    Your response and this text do not seem to agree - given that there is absolutely no reference to the production of animal products (only by-products) in the description of the animal rights indicators. My specific questions are:

    1) Is the production/selling of animal food products considered an "activity that might lead to animal suffering" under point (b)? If so, why is food production not mentioned when it is far more prevalent than the other examples given?

    2) Why does point (c) refer only to by-products and not primary products?

    My guess is that the description of the animal rights indicators provided in the guides is only a summary of a more complex set of guidelines used to evaluate products. I would appreciate if you could send me a copy of these guidelines pertaining to animal rights for closer scrutiny. I also feel that the summaries provided in the guides need to be addressed urgently in order to help consumers who seek to act ethically with respect to animal rights, yet may be misdirected by the information currently available. I understand the challenges you face in terms of limited human resources, but clarifying this description is less work than answering difficult forum posts - like mine
    Ingavdh
    New Member
    New Member
    Posts:30


    --
    02/09/2015 22:56:18
    i reckon this might help?

    http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/shop...ights.aspx

    there's a pdf you can download at the bottom, too. ^_^
    You are not authorized to post a reply.


     

    30 day trial subscription

    Customisable ethical ratings for over 40,000 companies, brands and products, plus Ethical Consumer Magazine. The simple way to shop with confidence.

    Discover more