Got Zits?

You were probably expecting a naked woman. But animal rights group, PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), has resorted to a different shock factor in the name of helping animals: They’re hoping to gross you out. More accurately, gross out your teenager. The group has launched an anti-dairy campaign called ‘Got Zits?’

PETA’s new ‘Got Zits?’ billboard was recently posted in Kansas City, near two local high schools. It features a smiling girl with a milk mustache and a face full of  acne blemishes. The campaign is a play on the ‘Got Milk’ campaign that’s been used by the dairy industry for the last 20 years. And PETA’s version is creating a froth with the National Dairy Council, which is calling the campaign “sensational.”

The allegations made by PETA that dairy causes acne, is supported by a scientific study that appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics earlier this year, claims the group. The study reportedly found a connection between dairy and acne. “The only people who benefit when teens drink milk from animals or eat dairy-based ice cream are dairy factory farmers and the makers of acne medication,” said PETA’s executive vice president, Tracy Reiman.

But the National Dairy Council refutes the ad, suggesting it’s just another stunt from the raucous organization, and said that too little evidence exists to be able to connect dairy with skin conditions, particularly in teenagers.

Strong concerns do exist about the health of animals that produce much of the nation’s conventional dairy and the effects on the humans who drink it. PETA pointed to the cocktail of chemicals, antibiotics, hormones and genetically modified foods fed to cows that produce dairy as known health risks. It’s believed that some girls as young as age 7 who have begun their menstrual cycles may have been exposed to excessive amounts of hormones in (cow’s) milk.

And PETA also used the platform to discuss the rampant animal cruelty commonplace on factory farms. Excessive milk production leads to painful udder infections for the cows, and newborn calves are traumatically separated from their mothers early on. The male calves are sent to veal farms where they face an even crueler fate in a dark, small crate where they cannot turn themselves around or lie comfortably on the ground.

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Image: PETA