Legally Brief: Truth in Advertising

Posted by Stephen Wells, ALDF's Executive Director on September 19, 2013

As the preeminent legal advocate for animals, the Animal Legal Defense Fund opposes the exploitation and abuse of animals. Every year, billions of animals are slaughtered on factory farms and exploited in labs, while others are trapped in virtual slavery of circuses and theme parks. For many people, their primary interaction with animals is as products and services. This is precisely why ALDF’s groundbreaking lawsuits against the biggest corporations in animal agriculture are so important. False advertising—that deceptively claims a company treats animals humanely while doing anything but—is not only illegal but jeopardizes the progress of truly humane companies.

Consumers are increasingly committed to more compassionate purchases, buying products that are not tested on animals or free-range eggs. When companies take advantage of lax or nonexistent labeling laws and make deceptive animal welfare claims, compassionate consumers lose and so do animals.

Taking on Tuna

We are taking on the lies of the tuna industry in our petition to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Of course, even truly “dolphin-safe” tuna is not tuna-safe and overfishing poses a serious threat to a host of marine ecosystems.

Force-Fed Foie Gras

Earlier this year, the Animal Legal Defense Fund successfully resolved our landmark false advertising lawsuit against Hudson Valley Foie Gras, the largest producer of foie gras in the nation. Foie gras is made by force-feeding young ducks so full of grain, two to three times a day, that his liver expands to eight or more times its natural size. Hudson Valley Foie Gras called itself “The Humane Choice” when truly humane alternatives like The Regal Vegan’s plant-based Faux Gras are readily available. After Hudson Valley removed this deceptive language ALDF withdrew its lawsuit—but we remain a watchdog of this inhumane industry. This is why we have taken on—and continue to achieve victory against—restaurants like La Toque that serve foie gras in violation of California’s ban on this cruel luxury product.

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Tackling Tyson’s Greenwashing

As I explained in my Huffington Post blog, ALDF has also taken on Tyson Foods, Inc. with a consumer protection complaint to the FTC for “greenwashing” its practices and manipulating well-meaning consumers.  Tyson is the largest producer of chicken and the second largest producer of pork and beef in our nation. Their production methods rely on the cruelest possible industry practices like “gestation crates” in which pregnant sows are unable to ever turn around. Due to its size, Tyson’s false claims to be a “humane” producer have an effect on the entire industry—misleading consumers and hurting billions of animals each year on factory farms. In light of our petition to the FTC, Tyson walked back some of its claim to be an industry leader in animal welfare. We’d be happier if it actually treated animals humanely. And that is why ALDF urges you to speak out and take action against Tyson Foods.

Cracking the Case on Eggs

Across the nation, 95% of egg-laying hens are confined in waste-encrusted wire cages so small they are never able to stretch or spread their wings. Yet many make claims that mislead consumers into thinking chickens live happy lives outdoors. ALDF has challenged such misleading claims, taking on both local and national egg producers. And the Animal Legal Defense Fund continues to do everything it can in the courts to shine a light on cruelty in the egg industry.

Corporate animal agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry that must be held accountable for taking advantage of consumers’ genuine attempts to make humane choices. The Animal Legal Defense Fund aims to ensure that they are held accountable to the law and the rights and lives of animals are safeguarded from corporate greed.

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