Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lessons from the Chinese Dairy Scandal

Travelling in Russia, as I am now, has given me the opportunity to reflect on some of the lessons that the US dairy industry might learn from the recent Chinese dairy scandal that I continue to update on in my blog posting. 

Bruce McLaughlan is a columnist in the Wall Street Journal's MarketWatch, and he has a business consultancy based in China. He recently wrote:

"Adverts in China give us the image that China's dairy giants control huge green fields full of happy, healthy cows, which troop into gleaming dairies where their milk is efficiently turned into yoghurt, ice cream or formula. The reality is somewhat different. While each of the big-name dairies has its own model farm with a few thousand cows, these account for a tiny proportion of the milk used by these firms."

The US dairy industry has this same kind of image of "happy, healthy cows, which troop in gleaming dairies" that's used in promotion. The California dairy industry uses precisely this kind of false vision in their "Happy California Cows" television ads, most of which can be found on YouTube.

We all know that the cows in California are not managed in this fashion, so when the reality is brought out, as in a PETA video and PR blitz, the industry takes another black eye.

How long does the dairy industry wish to willingly put itself into a postion of accepting black-eyes?

Just a thought, and I hope that helps.


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