Happy Cows Get Outsourced

Latest "Happy Cows" campaign draws critics for filming in New Zealand

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The California Milk Advisory Board has a spill on its hands in the form of news that it is spending up to ten percent of its budget shooting commercials outside of California.

    The implications are bad for dairy farmers -- for whom it's mandatory to pay into the CMAB -- as well as the entertainment industry in California.

    Sustainable Milk

    [BAY] Sustainable Milk
    We'll take you to a North Bay Dairy to see how California Happy Cows really live. (Published Thursday, Jul 16, 2009)

    "If CMAB’s advertising agency is willing to have work done 7000 miles away we can assume that, compared to California standards, they are paying scab rates," fumes Gordon "Zola" Edgar, cheesemonger at San Francisco's Rainbow Grocery.

    The CMAB says that all of the post-production work will still be done locally, and that any cows presented as happy California cows will, in fact, be filmed in California.

    An advertising executive with the CMAB told the Los Angeles Times that it's the board's "fiduciary responsibility to spend [the dairy farmers'] hard-earned dollars as efficiently as we can."

    The organization also argues that it will be filming the cows in New Zealand in the context of cows that wish they lived in California.

    Only problem is that, as Edgar and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals point out, the "confinement dairy" practices pioneered in California generally mean the cows live packed in warehouses -- whereas in New Zealand, most cattle are pastured and grass fed.

    So in the ultimate irony, the cattle down under would probably pass on moving to the Golden State, especially since they can mug for the papparazzi right at home.

    Jackson West has entertained thoughts of moving to New Zealand to get back in to film production.