The California Milk Advisory Board engaged in deceptive advertising with its “Happy Cow” commercials, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday.

The complaint, lodged by animal rights pressure group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), insists that the idyllic representation of the life of cows in California misleads consumers. The reality is intensive dairy production, says Peta, a picture without the grassy pastures of the advert and undeserving of the tag line: “Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California”.

Peta added that statistically, Californian farms have higher slaughter rates than dairy herds in any other state.

The milk advisory board insists that there are some farms in California that have pasture operations such as those depicted in the ads.