Papa John’s and Little Caesars: Offer Vegan Cheese Pizza!
I recently worked inside one of the largest dairy factory farms on the East Coast, one that touts its innovation as the first in the country to implement machine-milking of cows, known as “robo-milking.” Yet the horrors I documented at Mason Dixon Farms as a Compassion Over Killing undercover investigator reveal the much darker reality of this massive dairy factory.
At Mason Dixon, which supplies to Land O’Lakes and Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), the largest milk marketing cooperative in the US, I witnessed violent abuse of mother cows on a regular basis, including workers kicking cows in the face or udders, jabbing cows with their elbows, bending and twisting their tails, and even punching them for fun. One time, I even saw a cow who was too weak to stand up being electrically shocked over 100 times.
On this massive factory farm, 2,500 cows live in hazardous conditions, often getting stuck on large water troughs, unable to free themselves, and falling. Cows even walk in water contaminated with formaldehyde, which workers often handled without proper protective gear. I also watched as terrified cows were turned completely on their sides by an enormous machine, and then they had all four legs restrained so that their hooves could be sawed down in a frightening process.
While this facility is not in the Papa John’s or Little Caesars supply chains, the cruelty I documented at Mason Dixon is, sadly, not an isolated case. Footage like mine has revealed time and time again that suffering is inherent in the dairy industry—from newborn calves being ripped from their mothers shortly after birth for the veal industry, to exhausted mother cows being trucked off to the slaughterhouse when they’re no longer producing milk.
These haunting images are the sad reality of Big Dairy in America. Fortunately, however, millions of consumers are now waking up to the cruelty—as well as the health and environmental hazards—behind every carton of milk, and are increasingly choosing dairy-free options. Sales of dairy alternatives are soaring, even outpacing those of dairy itself, and the market is projected to reach $35 billion by 2024.
But pizza giants like Papa John’s and Little Caesars have yet to take a stand against the misery behind every bite of mozzarella and offer consumers an alternative: vegan cheese. So while pizza chains like Mellow Mushroom, Lebron James’ Blaze Pizza, and Pieology are shaping the future of pizza by offering dairy-free cheese options, Papa John’s and Little Caesars are lagging behind.
As leaders in the pizza industry, Papa John’s and Little Caesars have an opportunity to make a meaningful change for consumers and cows alike through a simple addition to their menus. Please join me in urging these chains to take a slice out of cruelty and offer vegan cheese.
“Ross” (Compassion Over Killing undercover investigator)
(*this language was updated from an earlier version)