Class Action Lawsuit Alleges that Diestel Turkey Ranch Turkeys Are Factory Farmed and Falsely Advertised
A class action lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico against Diestel Turkey Ranch alleges that much of the advertising of its turkeys is false and designed to mislead consumers into purchasing products that they believe are sourced from animals that have been raised with the highest standards of care.
In particular, Defendant’s turkey products, which are sold at major retailers such as Whole Foods, are marketed to provide consumers the comfort of knowing that the products are sourced from turkeys that are raised humanely in open pasture on a small family run ranch in the Sonora, California region. For example, among other representations, Diestel advertises its products as “[t]houghtfully raised on sustainable family farms with plenty of fresh air and space to roam” and as raised under the welfare standards of the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Welfare Certified Program.
Plaintiff alleges that, in stark contrast to these representations, the vast majority of turkeys are raised in abysmal conditions at factory farm operations outside of California. And, while some of Defendant’s products are in fact certified under the highest GAP standard (< 1%), Plaintiff notes that the GAP auditors visit every 15 months and the turkey life cycle is only 4 months, so many flocks sold as GAP were never visited by a third-party auditor. Further, Plaintiff also notes that while USDA-FSIS reviews and requires some substantiation for animal raising claims, it does not independently verify claims through on-site inspections and, as a result, many such labels contain inaccurate statements.
The lawsuit follows several years after the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal reported on abuses at Diestal Turkey Ranch farms and a month after a similar lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.