For Immediate Release:
March 8, 2022
Robin Goist 202-483-7382
Austin, Texas – PETA Foundation lawyers and co-counsel just won a precedent-setting victory in court when a motion to dismiss the class-action lawsuit against Texas-based Vital Farms Inc.—whose eggs are sold at Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, and other major grocers nationwide—was denied. The judge’s decision means that the case, brought by consumers who were misled into buying eggs at a premium price because of the company’s false claims that it treats hens ethically and humanely, can go forward.
A Texas federal court judge found that plaintiffs raised valid legal claims when alleging that Vital Farms makes deceptive assertions about hens’ humane treatment, despite the following:
- It engages in industry-standard practices, including obtaining hens from hatcheries that kill all male chicks at birth and burning or cutting off hens’ highly sensitive beaks to prevent fighting among stressed, severely crowded, confined hens.
- Many of the birds spend most or all of their time indoors—not in “pastures,” as Vital Farms claims.
- The company sends birds to slaughterhouses when they become less profitable.
“This ruling puts a target on the back of all egg sellers that are engaging in ‘humane washing’—that is, exploiting gentle hens and lying to consumers about it,” says PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith. “PETA is working to ensure that this case puts a stop to Vital Farms’ dishonest marketing and shows other companies that such tactics will be exposed and punished.”
The nine plaintiffs—including individuals from New York City; Los Angeles and Marina del Rey, California; Warren, Michigan; Crosby, Texas; and Cooper City, Florida—are also represented by Richard L. Stone of Blackner Stone & Associates and Jesse Weiss of Edmundson Shelton Weiss PLLC.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.