A plaintiff has filed a putative class action alleging Diestel Turkey Ranch falsely markets its turkeys as “thoughtfully raised on sustainable family farms with plenty of fresh air and space to roam.” Wetzel v. Diestel Turkey Ranch, No. 20-1213 (D.N.M., filed November 19, 2020). The plaintiff argues that Diestel “sources the overwhelming majority of its turkeys from growers outside of Sonora, California, at typical factory farms [], where turkeys are raised in large, overcrowded metal sheds that lack sufficient space to engage in natural behaviors and are often mired in manure and slaughterhouse waste—i.e., not ranches or ranch-like conditions depicted at the Sonora Ranch.” The plaintiff alleges violations of New Mexico’s false advertising law.

Cargill Inc. faces similar allegations in a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission by several advocacy groups. “Cargill makes numerous representations that lead consumers to believe the turkeys used in its Products are raised by ‘independent family farmers,'” the groups assert. “Cargill uses its ‘independent family farmers’ narrative to imply that the Products have far-reaching benefits for workers, animals, and the environment. As set forth in the complaint, Cargill is egregiously misleading consumers with these representations, because the Products are in fact produced on large, corporate-controlled factory farms. Far from the bucolic family farms portrayed by Cargill’s marketing, Cargill’s actual production methods exploit contract farmers and slaughterhouse workers, systematically abuse animals, and cause grave harms to the environment.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.