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Animal Advocacy Network Sues Whole Foods Turkey Farm for “Humane” Fraud
Activists Claim Purported “Humane” Farm Similar to “Typical Agro-Industrial Conditions”
January 30, Berkeley, CA – Today, advocates with the animal liberation network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) issued a lawsuit (COMPLAINT) in Alameda County against Whole Foods “Step 5+” supplier Diestel Turkey Ranch, a little over a year after an investigation reported on in the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post revealed sickening conditions at the northern California farm. The lawsuit claims Diestel violated California’s False Advertising Law by labeling its turkeys as “free range” and “humane” despite raising them in “an agro-industrial operation.” The suit, brought by Richman Law Group on behalf of DxE, demands that Diestel pay damages and cease the misleading marketing.
“Diestel and Whole Foods are distorting consumer perceptions,” said Kim Richman of the Richman Law Group. “Consumers and animals both pay the price for that fraud.”
In November 2015, Direct Action Everywhere released an investigation into Diestel Turkey Ranch, one of Whole Foods’ largest turkey suppliers, located in Jamestown, California. Investigators at DxE found widespread disease and hundreds of dead or dying birds. DxE further discovered that Whole Foods’ advertising of Diestel turkey came from a non-commercial “showcase” farm. Additional photos and video from the investigation can be found here.
Multiple investigations into farms that supply Whole Foods have challenged the company’s animal welfare claims. An investigation in early 2015 of a Whole Foods Certified Humane egg supplier and an investigation into a supplier of Whole Foods’ “humanely raised pork” revealed similar abuses in the Whole Foods supply chain. The activists say that “humane” labeling of animal products is a deceptive marketing ploy.
This past November, Direct Action Everywhere released an investigation into another Whole Foods turkey supplier, Jaindl Farms, which has supplied the U.S. President with two Thanksgiving turkeys since the 1960s. Although Jaindl is rated in the 98th percentile of animal welfare according to its website, investigators found starvation, mutilation, and extreme crowding after visiting nearly all the barns at the facility.
“Consumers should be highly skeptical of animal welfare claims by corporations that profit from exploiting animals,” said DxE lead investigator Wayne Hsiung. “Whole Foods and Diestel are committing not just factual but moral fraud.”
Every year over 67 million turkeys are killed to be eaten during the holiday season. Animals who are killed for their flesh endure intense psychological and physical trauma, and undercover investigations have found that they are routinely eviscerated while still conscious.
Direct Action Everywhere is a network of animal rights activists working to challenge speciesism throughout society. We use creative protest to challenge the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment. Visit Direct Action Everywhere on facebook and at http://directactioneverywhere.com/. Follow us on Twitter @DxEverywhere.