National Dairy Co. Hit With Consumer Lawsuit for Cruel Separation of Newborn Calves From Their Mothers

For Immediate Release:
July 19, 2022

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – PETA Foundation attorneys—setting out to upend factory-farming practices—filed a class-action lawsuit today against dairy company Organic Valley, which markets nationwide and exports to 25 countries. The suit is on behalf of a woman who accuses the company of misleading her into buying its products at premium prices because it falsely claims to treat cows “with love”—when in fact it separates newborn calves from their distraught mothers, who have been observed on dairy farms running after the trucks taking their babies away and crying for days over the loss.

The lawsuit cites numerous studies showing that the public roundly disapproves of the secretive practice, describing it as “unethical,” “inhumane,” “cruel,” and “totally unacceptable,” and it argues that Organic Valley’s deception helps sustain the company’s position in the industry, which includes taking in $1.2 billion in sales in 2020 alone.

The lawsuit is being brought by California resident Amber Takahashi-Mendoza, who, on the basis of Organic Valley’s misleading claims, paid extra for its milk and alleges that the company does the following:

  • Denies vulnerable calves a sufficient weaning period before taking them from their mothers, a process that inflicts immense psychological and physical suffering on both
  • Allows calves to be raised in isolation without vital socialization and natural sustenance
  • Claims on its milk cartons, despite these inhumane practices, to provide cows with the “highest standards” of animal care, which go “above and beyond other standards”—and charges a higher price based on those assurances“All babies need their mothers, and as a mother myself, I can’t imagine a greater trauma than having my newborn taken from me,” says plaintiff Takahashi-Mendoza. “I am sure other people bought Organic Valley milk thinking its cartons promising humane animal care practices—not to mention love—meant it didn’t inflict some of the cruelest practices typical of dairy factory farming.”

PETA Foundation attorneys filed the lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court in California on behalf of Takahashi-Mendoza. She’s also being represented by Helen Zeldes, Joshua Fields, and Aya Dardari of Schonbrun Seplow Harris Hoffman & Zeldes LLP.

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.

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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