Caught in the Crosshairs - Lone Star Organic Dairy
As described in a PETA press release last week (November 16), a whistleblower alerted the animal protection group to what it describes as “extreme animal suffering and mass deaths” at Texas dairy farm Lone Star Organic Dairy. Lone Star has roughly 2,300 cows and supplies milk to Horizon Organic, the largest organic milk supplier in the country. In response to the whistleblower’s outreach, PETA sent a letter to the USDA urging the agricultural regulator to open an immediate investigation and if violations are found, to revoke Lone Star’s organic qualification.
According to PETA, the whistleblower described a string of horrific conditions for Lone Star’s cows, including calves dying without adequate care; dead bodies lying exposed for days; cows falling into a 14-foot-deep pit of feces and urine; cows injured by nails left inside bedding materials; filthy living conditions; unsanitary water; hazardous fencing causing injury or escape; and ill-fitting collars causing wounds and abscesses. The whistleblower provided photos and videos to back up these serious allegations of animal mistreatment.
PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch did not mince words in describing the “hell on earth” the whistleblower reported:
Cows are caring, doting mothers who bellow in distress when their calves are taken from them, yet at Lone Star Organic Dairy, they’re reportedly forced to watch their babies die by the dozen. This hell on Earth is exactly why PETA urges consumers to see beyond humane washing, never fall for meaningless buzzwords like “organic,” and “go vegan.”
The whistleblower apparently blames Rise Run Capital, a local private equity firm that bought the dairy last year and is reportedly seeking to increase profits by cutting costs.
In reaching out to the USDA, PETA is looking for the agency to enforce its regulations for organic farms “to provide animals with appropriate conditions in order to minimize the spread of disease, to reduce their stress and potential for injury, to provide clean and dry bedding, and to keep living areas in good condition, including by frequently removing waste.” PETA also reached out to Horizon Organic to cut ties with Lone Star along with the organization that provided its organic certification.
Hopefully the USDA and Horizon will take whatever steps are necessary to investigate and address these serious allegations of animal mistreatment. All thanks to the whistleblower courageous and caring enough to stand up in the face of this potential wrongdoing.
If you would like to learn more about what it means to be a whistleblower, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free and confidential consult with an experienced member of Constantine Cannon’s whistleblower lawyer team.
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