For Immediate Release:
May 22, 2023
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
Oroville, Calif. – PETA Foundation lawyers and co-counsel just won a precedent-setting victory in court when a motion to dismiss a class-action lawsuit against Organic Valley, brought by an Oroville resident who accuses the company of misleading her into buying its products at premium prices because it falsely claims to provide cows with the “highest standards” of animal care, was denied. The judge’s decision means that the case against the dairy company—which markets products nationwide and exports to 25 countries—can go forward.
Specifically, a federal judge for the Northern District of California held, in a first-of-its-kind decision, that a reasonable consumer could find Organic Valley’s carton labels “misleading because consumers could plausibly expect that such practices would not include the early separation of mother and calf.” The judge also allowed claims about Organic Valley’s alleged housing of calves by themselves in isolated hutches without vital socialization to move forward.
“This ruling puts a target on the back of all dairy sellers that are inflicting profound suffering on mother cows and their babies and lying to consumers about it,” says PETA Foundation Director of Litigation Asher Smith. “The PETA Foundation will continue exposing companies that try to mask cruel farming practices with idyllic slogans and images.”
PETA Foundation attorneys helped file the lawsuit on behalf of Amber Takahashi-Mendoza. She is also represented by Helen Zeldes, Joshua Fields, and Aya Dardari of Schonbrun Seplow Harris Hoffman & Zeldes LLP, and Michael Reese and George Granade of Reese 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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.