Confirmed victory

Tell Ben and Jerry's: Cows Need Their Tails!

This petition made change with 132,398 supporters!

Ben & Jerry’s, the iconic Vermont-based ice cream company, has always cultivated its image as quirky, fun-loving, and socially responsible. Ben & Jerry’s parent company Unilever announced that it would not source eggs for its Hellman’s mayonnaise from caged hens. Bravo! But it’s high time that cows, who provide the main ingredient for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, got more attention.

Tail docking of dairy cows -- amputation of the animals’ tails using whatever method farmers choose to use, typically without anesthesia—is widespread in the industry and here in Vermont. This, despite the fact that 15 years of accumulated scientific evidence concludes that docking does not enhance product quality; evidence of distress, along with acute and chronic pain, is incontestable; the cow is deprived of her ability to swat flies.

Tail docking is a bad habit that persists for the sake of worker convenience. Even conservative veterinary and industry associations, including Hoard's Dairyman, admit that tail docking is "one practice whose only place should be in the annals of history."

Presently, farmers’ participation in Ben & Jerry’s so-called “Caring Dairy” program is voluntary, and a recent update of the program now includes payment to producers who don’t dock tails. This is a small step in the right direction. (A few former participants refused the incentive rather than give up docking, but their milk is still accepted.)

Ben & Jerry’s needs to let all their suppliers and the co-ops know that cruelty to any cow is unacceptable.


What’s the plan to make ALL your suppliers Caring Dairies, and put an end to tail docking?

Recently Saputo, Canada’s largest dairy processor, announced that it would refuse to buy milk from farmers who don’t treat their animals humanely, and committed to ending tail docking. Even grocery giant Walmart has announced new standards that address painful procedures, including tail docking: "We have listened to our customers and are asking our suppliers to engage in improved reporting standards and transparency measures regarding the humane treatment of farm animals."

Let’s call on Ben & Jerry’s to demonstrate a strengthened commitment to ending tail docking--show us a plan for all producers to stop docking cows’ tails, and make animal welfare progress transparent on their website.

Walmart is making great strides. Ben & Jerry’s should certainly be able to keep up. Visit for more information.

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