Lawsuit Filed After Investigation Exposes Animal Cruelty at Dairy Farmers of America Supplier
Video shows malicious acts of violence toward cows, gross neglect of calves
LOS ANGELES — The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, filed a lawsuit against Dick Van Dam Dairy, its owners, and supervisors after an undercover investigation by Animal Outlook exposed pervasive cruelty to cows and calves at the facility. Dick Van Dam Dairy is a supplier to Dairy Farmers of America, which produces DairyPure — sold at Target stores nationwide — and TruMoo brand milks.
The lawsuit, filed in California Superior Court for Riverside County, alleges Dick Van Dam Dairy supervisors and staff control the cows through the use of violence by repeatedly jabbing cows’ faces, legs, and udders with splintered wooden canes and metal pipes, kicking them in the face and udders, twisting their tails so hard the bone breaks, slamming metal gates on them, and poking fingers in cows’ eyes, among other painful methods regularly deployed on the farm.
Newborn calves who require care or medical attention are left to die — their bodies decomposing in the same pens with the mother cows. Injuries to and infections in the cows’ udders emit puss and even turned the milk pink from blood, requiring the dairy to discard it. Lame cows hobble over floors slicked with mud and feces, forced to be milked despite their injuries. Cows who cannot walk attempt to crawl away from workers who continuously hit them, attempting to make the cows stand. Multiple times, workers misused machinery to lift downed cows up in the air by their hips — suspending them many feet above the ground — and then leaving them in the dirt to die.
“The abuse and neglect towards cows and calves exposed through the investigation demonstrate this is not just a single employee or incident, but company-wide practices condoned by management,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “Undercover investigations are one of the only ways to expose the cruelty imposed by the industrial animal agriculture industry. The industry wants to keep the truth hidden, because they know the public would not tolerate the conditions animals endure.”
The lawsuit is seeking for the dairy to be shut down permanently and for the defendants to be barred from possessing or working with animals in any capacity.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is asking Target to stop carrying Dairy Farmers of America products, including DairyPure and TruMoo, until Target conducts an independent investigation of the Dairy Farmers of America’s entire supply chain through spot checks and surprise inspections to ensure suppliers comply with their own corporate policy. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is offering to assist Target inspectors during the process.
The lawsuit was filed together with the Southern California law firm Talkov Law Corp.
B-Roll available to press upon request.
Edie Falco narrates the Animal Legal Defense Fund film demanding transparency in factory farmingSeptember 14, 2021 Press Release
D.C. Court of Appeals rules Animal Legal Defense Fund can pursue its claimsSeptember 2, 2021 Press Release
Animal Legal Defense Fund-led coalition wins major victory for animal protection, food and worker safety, and the First AmendmentAugust 19, 2021 Press Release