DAVE Hughes wants to set the record straight: he is not declaring war on the dairy industry.
“My brother Michael works at Warrnambool Cheese and Butter,” he said.
‘‘He makes cheese for a living.
“I’ve got shares in WCB.”
The comedian’s admissions come after a petition urging him to give up milk sparked an angry reaction from dairy farm leaders this week.
He was drawn into the controversy during a segment on his Melbourne radio station NOVA-FM show where Hughes was discussing what he had given up in the past. The list included alcohol, lolly snakes and caffeine.
A caller rang in to say he had given up cow’s milk, with Hughes replying: “I do believe that milk is for baby cows, that they are the ones who should be sucking on their mother’s teats”.
This exchange prompted a woman, identified as Kirsten Anne, to create an online petition urging Hughes to quit his “animal milk-drinking habit”.
She listed 13 reasons why Hughes should “ditch dairy”, saying it “stinks”, causes heart disease, osteoporosis and constipation and because “dairy production might be the most offensive and heinous of all animal farming”.
“It’s cow milk,” Kirsten Anne said. “Why are we all drinking milk from a cow when we wouldn’t drink the milk from our lactating dog or cat or milk from a horse, pig or raccoon?
‘‘We are the only species that drinks the milk of another species, consuming it long after weaning.
‘‘Would you go out into a field and suckle from a cow? I don’t think so.”
The petition drew support from animal rights activists and vegans, but was slammed by dairy farmers.
Corangamite Shire mayor Chris O’Connor, a former dairy farmer, told Hughes that people in the south-west would rather laugh with him than at him, emphasising the importance of the dairying industry to the south-west economy.
Hughes called The Standard yesterday afternoon to plead his case.
“I’m really good at giving up things. I was doing it for a week,” he said. “No one’s drunk more milk than me over the years.
‘‘I’m a big supporter of the dairy industry.
‘‘I’m not declaring war on the dairy industry.
“I don’t think having soy lattes for a week is going to affect them too much.”
Hughes admitted he had not read any of Kirsten Anne’s reasons for giving up milk.
When told one of them was that milk “stinks” he responded: ‘‘milk certainly doesn’t stink”.
And his opinion of soy lattes?
“They’re different,” he said.