Now, I know this is the part when a lot of non-vegetarians and non-vegans will roll their eyes and accuse me of being silly... or much worse. This argument is often the one that gets vegetarians and vegans mocked, but it's an important argument nonetheless.
Cows deserve dignity. Pigs deserve dignity. Fish deserve dignity (yes, fish). Every living being deserves dignity.
The "California Cows" campaign robs cows of their dignity. Cows do not talk. Cows do not want to be Hollywood stars. Cows do not brag about the sunshine and moderate weather of California. Cows do not joyfully give up their milk meant for offspring. Cows do not like to mistreated (or downright tortured). Cows surely would prefer a long life they can enjoy rather than one where they exist solely as a means to make money.
A good friend of mine just beginning the journey to vegetarianism asked me, "So, say the cows are not on a factory farm and they're on a little farm and they're treated well. Is it okay then to take the milk?" I appreciated this question because it gave me the opportunity answer with a resounding "no"! It also showed me how effective campaigns like this are. I told her that -- no matter how well the cow is treated-- the milk is not ours to take. Squeezing a cow's udders to steal milk meant for offspring is NOT treating a cow with dignity. Neither is hooking it up to machines that do it... injecting it with anti-biotics and hormones to increase its milk output... and the list goes on and on. Cows-- and all animals-- simply don't deserve such treatment. And to treat them this way is to rob them of their dignity.
The "California Cows" campaign contributes to this. Rather than justifying cows' existence as living, breathing beings who deserve to live truly happy lives, it uses the "cuteness" of cows to sell more milk!
It's bad enough that cows' milk is stolen... but "farmers" have to take their dignity, too.