Doing Dairy Right is our Ethos

Clover Sonoma Dairy Cow

At Clover Sonoma, we support passionate opinions around issues that affect all of us, including animal welfare and climate change, among many others. We applaud Joaquin Phoenix, not only for his well-deserved Oscar for his role in Joker, but also for being an active voice encouraging advocacy against injustice. However, it’s important that we respond to some of the statements the actor made in his Oscar acceptance speech.

Clover Sonoma agrees with Mr. Phoenix – humanity has become disconnected from the natural world.  We believe this is largely a result of misinformation and a lack of education around animal welfare and climate change. This is why we need more reporting involving the perspective of Northern California’s dairies in particular.

At Clover Sonoma, we’ve worked with many of our dairy families for generations. We work with 30 independent family farms, not hundreds or thousands. And, our long-standing partnership has grown from a mutual understanding that we need to treat each other and our animals like family. After all, it matters where your milk comes from.

Animal welfare is at the core of our business and our belief system. Twenty years ago, Clover Sonoma was the first dairy to be American Humane Certified by the American Humane Association (AHC) for our animal welfare program. AHC’s standards, and the standards for Clover Sonoma’s dairy farms, are clearly defined by the governing five freedoms:

  1. Freedom from hunger and thirst
  2. Freedom from discomfort
  3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  4. Freedom from fear and distress
  5. Freedom to express normal behaviors

In response to Mr. Phoenix’s statement regarding the calves, impregnating female cows and using their milk to our own benefit, we’d like to offer up the truthful narrative.

The calf hutch that they live in offers these young animals a controlled environment that promotes health and allows for independent, one-on-one attention and nurturing during their infancy. Without this kind of environment for these young animals — whose immune systems are low and needing to be strengthened — they would be more conducive to illness. They are housed side-by-side, because it is still important that they socialize with their peers, without intermingling to protect their immunity. Once they are able to build their immune system through individual feeding and wellness attention, they are moved to group pens where they can socialize freely. 

We pride ourselves on the humane treatment of the animals that produce milk for our brand of products through the independent family farms we work with exclusively (some for multiple generations). The standards they abide by from the American Humane Association and our Clover Promise of Excellence are more rigorous than most state and federal standards. As a B Corp Certified business, we’ve run our business as a power to do good for generations – for the animals, the land and the consumer. We respect and advocate for consumer choice and can appreciate the choice to be vegan. All we ask is that the information shared publicly is accurate and informed.