For Immediate Release:
March 10, 2022
Robin Goist 202-483-7382
Los Angeles – Longtime resident of Los Angeles Jon Evans and longtime resident of Marina del Rey Kenny Kierman are plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit against Vital Farms Inc.—a case in which PETA Foundation lawyers and co-counsel just won a precedent-setting victory when a motion to dismiss the suit was rejected by the court. They and fellow consumers allege that they were misled into buying the company’s eggs at a premium price because of its false claims that it treats hens ethically and humanely.
The lawsuit indicates that Evans and Kierman regularly purchased the Texas-based company’s eggs because they believed that Vital Farms provided hens with “freedom from undue pain and distress.” They would not have agreed to the company’s high prices—which are up to seven times higher than the price of ordinary store-bought eggs—had they known “the truth about Vital’s practices.” A Texas federal court judge has now found that they and the other plaintiffs raised valid legal claims when alleging that Vital Farms knowingly makes deceptive assertions about hens’ humane treatment.
Despite its assertions, the company does the following:
- Obtains hens from hatcheries that kill all male chicks at birth and burn or cut off hens’ highly sensitive beaks to prevent fighting among stressed, severely crowded, confined birds
- Claims that birds are in “pastures” when many spend most or all of their time indoors
- Sends birds to slaughterhouses when they become less profitable
“Jon Evans and Kenny Kierman were deliberately misled into believing that Vital Farms treats animals with respect, when it sends them to slaughter and purchases from hatcheries that grind chicks up alive,” says PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith. “PETA is working to ensure that this case puts a stop to and punishes dishonest marketing tactics that betray kind consumers.”
The nine plaintiffs—including individuals from New York City; Crosby, Texas; Warren, Michigan; 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.