Oroville Resident Sues National Dairy Co. for Cruel Separation of Newborn Calves From Their Mothers

For Immediate Release:
July 19, 2022

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Oroville, Calif. – Local resident Amber Takahashi-Mendoza is a plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against dairy company Organic Valley, which markets nationwide and exports to 25 countries, filed today in the Superior Court of California in Alameda County by PETA Foundation attorneys—and it’s seeking to upend factory-farming practices. Takahashi-Mendoza accuses the company of misleading her into buying its products at a premium price because it falsely claims to treat cows “with love”—when in fact it separates newborn calves from 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 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 alleges that Organic Valley 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 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.”

Takahashi-Mendoza is also 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