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USA: Institute Files Legal Complaint against Horizon

by Redaktion (comments: 0)


A few industrial-scale dairies, managing 2,000 to 10,000 cows, are allegedly producing milk in feedlot conditions without grazing their cattle as required by law. Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for the Cornucopia Institute, states that the large factory farms operate mostly in desert-like conditions in the west. He also mentions that corporations like Dean Foods (the world’s largest dairy concern with almost $ 11 billion in annual sales) are apparently trying to use their power to deceive loyal organic supporters.


The current legal complaint alleges that Dean’s Idaho farm has created an illusion by putting their cows on pastures for VIP visitors, but do not regularly offer pasture with feed value. Kastel continues that he had an opportunity to visit and found out that the majority of their cattle were in winter housing, which was actually a feedlot. Cattle were rotated constantly during his visit just for show. Cornucopia also claims that the crop offered to the cows was not palatable or digestible and did not constitute pasture as requested by federal regulations governing organic livestock production. Highly refined feed was offered in troughs in the feedlot. Another complaint was that the cattle were put on pasture in conditions of extreme heat without giving any access to water. In the complaint, allegations were included that proper pasturing was not occurring on other large farms of the corporation.


Goldie Caughlan, Nutrition Education Manager at the country’s largest natural foods cooperative, PCC Natural Markets, stated that customers expressed scepticism about buying a Horizon product because they felt mislead. She also stated the co-op recently dropped all those products in their eight stores. In addition to actions by retailers, the Organic Consumers Association has called for a boycott of Horizon products earlier this year.


Horizon announced a number of modifications last December that would make their company more acceptable. The Cornucopia Institute said they still hope that Dean Foods will change their direction and, like the majority of their competitors, shift their production to family-scale dairy farms. Cornucopia is ready to assist, stated Kastel.



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