New Lawsuit Challenges Dairy Company Organic Valley Over ‘Happy Cow’ Claims

Organic Valley has been accused of misleading consumers


2 Minutes Read

dairy cow in a field Cows emit most of their methane while on pasture - Media Credit: Terry Mathews / Alamy Stock Photo

A new lawsuit has been brought against dairy company Organic Valley after it made claims that it treats its cows “with love.”

According to animal rights organization PETA, these claims are “false” and “misleading.” 

On behalf of California resident Amber Takahashi-Mendoza, the organization’s attorneys have filed a class-action lawsuit against the dairy company, citing evidence that it separates calves from “distraught” mothers, and then allows them to be raised in isolation “without vital socialization and natural sustenance.”

PETA claims this causes “immense psychological and physical suffering.”

In contrast, Organic Valley claims on its milk cartons that its cows are treated with the “highest standards of animal care.” Its website reads: “We’re committed to giving our cows happy, healthy lives, and it shines through in our products.”

It was on this basis that Takahashi-Mendoza paid extra for the brand’s milk.

“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,” she said.

‘All babies need their mothers’

In order for a cow to produce milk, they must first give birth to a calf. According to Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), it is standard practice for a calf to be removed from their mother within just a few days (or in some cases, hours). Because they have strong maternal instincts, they find this process distressing.

“Both the calf and the mother will make loud calls, trying to locate each other after they are separated,” notes CIWF.

In the US, more than 226 billion pounds of milk were sold for human consumption in 2020. Organic Valley is a big part of the market. In the same year, it made more than $1 billion in sales.

“All babies need their mothers,” said Takahashi-Mendoza. “As a mother myself, I can’t imagine a greater trauma than having my newborn taken from me.” Her case has been filed in the Superior Court of California.


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