Student group plans to protest shipment of dairy cows at the Port of Olympia

Fourteen-hundred head of dairy cattle are set to be loaded onto the M/V Falconia on Tuesday.
Fourteen-hundred head of dairy cattle are set to be loaded onto the M/V Falconia on Tuesday. Port of Olympia

A pro-vegan student group at The Evergreen State College say they plan to protest the shipment of dairy cows to Vietnam from the Port of Olympia.

The group, Animal Liberation Collective, plans to gather at the port at noon Monday and again at noon Tuesday, said Zoe Kolln, 20, one of three coordinators for the group.

The 1,400 cows are being sent to Vietnam to provide milk, according to the port. They are set to be loaded onto the M/V Falconia on Tuesday, a ship that specializes in the transport of livestock. The Falconia has been docked at the port for most of the month.

Kolln said she expects about 10 people to take part in the non-violent protest, although that number could grow if other organizations get involved, such as Direct Action Everywhere, another animal rights organization.

Kolln said the group wants to call attention to the cruelty involved in live animal exports and to encourage consumers not to spend their money toward industries that support such treatment of animals.

“There are plenty of vegan alternatives that taste just like dairy and that are just as good for you,” she said.

As for the protest location, Kolln said they want to get “as close as we can,” possibly outside the port marine terminal gates or at the Port Plaza.

Prior to being shipped, the cows spent 28 days in quarantine at a U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved farm where veterinarians monitored the animals, according to the port.

Capital Press, an ag publication, reported the cows were held and examined at the Schorno Agri-Business in Yelm.

Once here, the cattle will board the ship on a special platform and gangway that keeps their hooves from touching the dock, according to the port.

Once loaded, the voyage is expected to take two weeks. A veterinarian will travel with the livestock.

“The USDA has vetted all parts of this supply chain to ensure the most humane handling of the animals, and the port has taken the appropriate measures to alleviate environmental concerns,” the port said in a news release.