Horizon Organic Suspends Local Supplier Following Reports of Cows Stuck in Fecal Soup, Dying in Droves

For Immediate Release:
November 20, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Wills Point, TexasHorizon Organic, the largest organic milk company in the country, has suspended sourcing from Lone Star Organic Dairy in Van Zandt County after PETA shared a whistleblower’s report of extreme animal suffering and mass deaths at the operation, which has over 2,000 cows. The whistleblower’s allegations include:

  • Most calves born at the facility are dying from untreated ailments that include diarrhea and pneumonia. Dead bodies are strewn throughout the property and sometimes left to rot for days before being buried.
  • Multiple cows fell into a 14-foot-deep pit of liquid waste. One of the cows—filmed weakly treading in the fecal soup—could barely walk by the time she was finally extracted. She was sold for slaughter.
  • Cows were injured by barbed-wire fencing as they reached for grass and hay that had been dumped on the other side of it. Some cows escaped through inadequate fencing and were struck and killed by cars.
  • Blind calves were put in a pen with electrified fencing and were repeatedly shocked by it, while blind heifers were simply left to wander the property until they died.
  • Bedding provided to the cows had nails in it that injured and crippled them.
  • Cows were fitted with collars that weren’t loosened as they grew so that they became embedded in the animals’ necks, causing wounds and abscesses.

Photos from the whistleblower are here, and video footage is here

“Blind and sickly calves, a cow floating in a deep pit of feces, and grounds littered with rotting corpses sound like something out of a horror movie, but that’s exactly what a whistleblower reported at Lone Star Organic Dairy,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “PETA urges consumers to remember that suffering runs rampant wherever animals are used en masse, look beyond meaningless marketing terms like ‘organic,’ and go vegan.”

According to the whistleblower, much of the misery can be laid at the feet of Rise Run Capital, a local private equity firm that bought the dairy last year and is reportedly seeking to increase profits by cutting staffing and selling “unprofitable” cows for slaughter.

PETA has shared the whistleblower’s findings with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging it to open an investigation into the facility and revoke Lone Star Organic Dairy’s organic qualification for any violations that it confirms, and with the organic certifiers responsible for visiting the facility on behalf of the USDA’s National Organic Program, requesting a new inspection.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind