Ben & Jerry’s sued over ‘happy cow’ characterization

American ice cream makers Ben Cohen (L) en Jerry Greenfield, founders of the brand, Ben & Jerry's give out ice creams for free in their shop in the centre of Amsterdam, The Netherlands on Monday February 22, 2010. AFP PHOTO/ANP/ADE JOHNSON ***netherlands out - belgium out*** (Photo credit should read ADE JOHNSON/AFP/Getty Images)

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Ben & Jerry’s is facing a lawsuit accusing the ice cream maker and its parent company of false advertising by saying the milk and cream in its products comes from “happy cows.”

In a complaint filed Oct. 31 in federal court in Burlington, Vermont, where Ben & Jerry’s was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers accuses the company and Unilever of deceiving consumers.

He says many of the farms that produce the milk and cream are factory-style, mass production dairy operations. He says only some are part of the company’s “Caring Dairy” program.

A Ben & Jerry’s spokesman said Friday that the company doesn’t comment on pending lawsuits. He said it’s proud of the work it’s done with Vermont family farmers and is committed to building a resilient, regenerative dairy supply.

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