Vegans sour World Milk Day with Twitter backlash

Yesterday was World Milk Day, a fairly innocuous occasion for brands to celebrate the lactic liquid. But this year, things turned sour.

The event, which was started by the UN’s Food and Agriculture agency in 2001, was celebrated on Twitter by the usual farm and dairy brands like Peak Milk and Fonterra (bizarrely, also Mazda). However the hashtag was soon hijacked by vegan influencers and dairy-free brands.

According to Brandwatch, vegan-related tweets made up 10 percent of all messages shared under the #WorldMilkDay hashtag. While the content of these tweets ranged from tongue-in-cheek promotions of dairy-free products, there were also graphic images of animals in the mix.

Of all #WorldMilkDay content, vegan influencer Kate Louise Powell (who has over 12,500 followers on Twitter) received the most retweets for her comments on the treatment of calves in dairy farming.

#WorldMilkDay calves are ripped from their mums so humans can steal the milk. stop supporting it, choose plant milks

— Kate Louise Powell Ⓥ (@KatePow3ll) June 1, 2016

Twitter user King Owen, also active on vegan Twitter, reached the top three most-shared tweets with the below:

It’s #WorldMilkDay so drink with a conscience. — King Öwen Ⓥ (@itskingowen) June 1, 2016

The “V-hive” also trolled dairy brands that were using the hashtag. Cravendale, the UK’s biggest milk brand, got inundated with snarky answers as part of its giveaway on the platform.

More than half a million people in Britain now avoid animal products, with veganism credited as the “fastest growing lifestyle movement.” High among these new vegans are Millennials tapping into strong networks of like-minded people on social media.

Others on the receiving end of vegan twitter’s wrath include Chef Gordon Ramsay, who recently kicked the “V-hive” with a tweet about his allergy to the group.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen also recently caught flack on the platform for its ads on London’s tube network which read “They eat grass so you don’t have to” above a picture of a cow.

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