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State justices refuse PETA a hearing on the life of cows
by Bob Egelko
Thursday Apr 21st, 2005 8:41 PM
The court denied review without comment.
unhappycowsand_peta.jpg
Thursday, April 21, 2005

Whether the cows in a state milk board's ads are really happy is apparently none of the California courts' business.

The state Supreme Court denied review of an appeal Wednesday by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which sued the California Milk Producers Advisory Board in December 2002. The board's ads, funded by dairy farms, showed cows grazing in green pastures with the slogan, "Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.''

Actually, PETA declared, California dairy cows commonly spend their lives in dirt and mud, are repeatedly impregnated and milked throughout their pregnancies, often suffer painful maladies and are slaughtered when they can no longer meet the industry's production demands.

A court may not be able to tell whether cows are truly happy, the animal- rights group said, but it should decide whether consumers are being misled.

But San Francisco Superior Court Judge David Garcia ruled that the milk board could not be sued for false advertising or unfair business practices, the two laws invoked by PETA. He said they can be used only against individuals, companies and private associations.

A Court of Appeal panel in San Francisco agreed with Garcia in January, saying past rulings had established that government agencies are immune from lawsuits over their ads.

Complaints about a state-run agricultural marketing program must instead be filed administratively with the state director of food and agriculture, the court said.

PETA's appeal to the state's high court argued that the appellate court had improperly narrowed the law. By authorizing suits over unfair and deceptive practices, the Legislature intended "to give consumers the direct power to protect themselves from harm, even when that harm comes from the government,'' attorney Bruce Wagman said.

The court denied review without comment.

The case is PETA vs. California Milk Producers Advisory Board, S131634.

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
yet another resource for dairies infoand byMonday Apr 25th, 2005 3:15 PM
that's where you *used* to find cowsand byFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 4:58 PM
sufferingphiloFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 4:48 PM
does anybody really care?RTDFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 4:35 PM
bgo bye byeFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 4:22 PM
"the real picture of dairy cows in California today"and byFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 2:51 PM
who is misleading ?bFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 2:03 PM
good pointphiloFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 1:02 PM
They mislead by always showing them in open fields.and byFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 11:58 AM
my pointphilo againFriday Apr 22nd, 2005 11:12 AM

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