Ethical treatment of animals is as important to us as sustainability. We partner with a cooperative of small family farms, all of which provide their animals the “five freedoms.” The philosophy is simple—ice cream tastes better when it comes from happy cows.
Our partner farms provide more room to roam because animals are happiest when they live how nature intended. Not only does more time outside make cows happier, it keeps them healthier. When you buy a pint of Cosmic Bliss ice cream, you’re supporting farming practices that are better for our land, our animals, and our people.
How Can You Tell If a Cow is Happy?
More time outside. A healthier diet. Ethical treatment.
The cows that make our milk get 50% more grazing time than the national organic requirement. They eat 100% organic grass their entire lives. They’re also ensured the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare.
And if you’re curious, there’s actually research to show that pasturing and grazing really does make cows happier. A study conducted by the University of British Columbia used a weighted gate to determine how motivated cows were to go outside to pasture. Researchers found that cows valued access to open pasture as much as they did fresh feed. Furthermore, the farms we work with participate in six industry-wide animal welfare certifications that leverage the latest science, veterinarian expertise, and advice from animal nutrition professionals to ensure the best treatment of their farm animals.
The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare
Every animal on our partner farms is ensured these freedoms.
Freedom from hunger and thirst
Freedom from pain and disease
Freedom from discomfort
Freedom from distress
Freedom to exhibit natural behaviors
The Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare were developed by an independent scientific advisory committee of experts in agriculture, species-specific animal behavior, and ethics. The Five Freedoms are generally recognized as the gold standard of animal treatment as they encompass both physical and mental well-being of animals.
Giving cows more time on pasture doesn’t just make cows happier, it makes them healthier. The cows from our partner farms spend more time in open pastures eating a natural diet of organic grass. No grain involved.
Not only does a natural grass diet make the cows happier, it means higher-quality milk with more beta-carotene and omega-3 fatty acids. Grass-fed milk is also high in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and healthy omega-6’s compared to conventionally farmed dairy.
Questions from the Community
Because we work with a cooperative of small farms, specific practices often vary farm to farm. We do our best to be as transparent as possible about these issues, and this list will continue to grow as we receive questions from the sustainability and animal ethics communities.
Q: How are calves raised?
A: The farms where we source our grass-fed milk from are part of a larger cooperative that have varying practices. These practices range from leaving the newborn calves with the mother to nurse naturally for some time before starting bottle feedings to using the madre method where calves stay with mothers out on pasture for weeks to months at a time. The practices at each of these farms go beyond the standards of the majority of farms in the United States. It’s also important to note that these farms work to create a natural life for animals on farms, and our supplier is working with others in the industry to improve animal care across the board through initiatives and legislation like the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule, which apply to all animals on the farm, not just dairy cows. Finally, the farms we work with participate in six industry-wide animal welfare certifications that leverage the latest science, veterinarian expertise, and advice from animal nutrition professionals to ensure the best treatment of their farm animals.
Q: What happens to male calves?
A: The farms where we source our grass-fed milk from can raise male calves as steers for the organic meat market or they can sell to farmers that specialize in beef. It is important to note that the farms we work with do NOT sell veal. These farms work to create a natural life for all animals on farms, and our supplier is working with others in the industry to improve animal care across the board through initiatives and legislation like the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule, which apply to all animals on the farm, not just dairy cows.
Q: Are cows artificially inseminated?
A: These practices can vary farm to farm. Some farmers prefer natural ‘pasture breeding’, utilizing a bull, while many farmers will use artificial insemination to impregnate cows. According to the lead veterinarian from our supplier, there are several advantages to this, including being less harmful to the dairy cow (the bulls weigh a lot and having that heavy weight jump on her back can be physically harmful to the cow). The process is actuallysimilar to in vitro fertilization for humans.