Toronto Maple Leafs face criticism from PETA over dairy sponsorship

Elliot Ben Jacob
July 4, 2024  (12:18)

Official Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.
Photo credit: SBNation

The Toronto Maple Leafs' partnership with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario has come under fire from PETA, highlighting ethical and environmental concerns.

In a shocking turn of events, the president of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, had reached out to the Maple Leafs with a letter, demanding that they end their sponsorship with milk, bringing up concerns over the ethicality of it. This is honestly baffling, as there is no issue with this sponsorship, and if there was, the Maple Leafs aren't responsible or the cause of global warming, they're simply partnering with a company, which happens a lot.
«Our condolences for this year's devastating playoff loss. So many Leafs fans have now endured decades of heartbreak, watching a team with so much talent and promise fail to piece together a successful Stanley Cup run, so we're writing to you with a suggestion for shaking things up and getting a fresh start for next season — ditch your sponsorship from Dairy Farmers of Ontario. Please hear us out,»
Newkirk wrote.
Newkirk brought up multiple examples, such as a study done in 2018, 6 years ago now, that showcased how dairy production outputs three times more greenhouse gases than milk produced by plants and not animals. She then stretched even further and said that since hockey is a sport played on ice, and icecaps are melting, that they should not be supporting the dairy industry.
«We hope you can appreciate the irony of an ice-based sports team accepting a sponsorship from the ice cap–melting dairy industry. Dairy farms are a significant contributor to the climate catastrophe.

A 2018 study estimates the production of dairy milk to be around three times more intensive in greenhouse gas emissions than the production of plant-based milks. Global warming means more melting icebergs. Oh — and if you're thinking of making a switch to field hockey, cow's milk generally requires the use of nine times more land than any of the vegan alternatives. So that would be out.»
Newkirk also linked dairy consumption to various health issues, including "chronic inflammation, heart disease, colon and prostate cancer," and "the embarrassing effects of lactose intolerance," though she did not provide sources for these claims. Additionally, she condemned the practice of separating calves from their mothers shortly after birth to produce milk for human consumption.
«It is common for the anguished cries of mother cows calling for their kidnapped calves to be heard for days,»
Newkirk added.
«Sure, roster shakeups and a new coaching staff may improve the team's performance next year, but severing ties with the dirty dairy industry would be guaranteed to help protect the planet, improve human health, and spare gentle cows and their calves from being exploited, abused, and killed. Please, send the Maple Leafs' dairy sponsorship to the penalty box.»

The Toronto Maple Leafs have yet to respond to PETA's letter. As the debate continues, the team's relationship with the Dairy Farmers of Ontario remains a contentious topic among fans and activists alike.