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Operation Natural Prairie Dairy stands as the first-ever cruelty investigation into an organic dairy farm in the United States and the third installment of the largest dairy investigation of Fairlife and Select Milk Producers, Inc. The first two investigations released by ARM were Operation Fair Oaks Farms and Operation Fairlife.
Organic dairies, such as Natural Prairie Dairy, are viewed by consumers and the public as adhering to operations that follow enhanced humane and ethical standards for animals, the environment, and the consumer. The organic label also lends to the justification behind the premium prices of organic dairy products compared to conventional dairy products.
However, ARM conducted a month-long investigation that revealed Natural Prairie Dairy deceiving food production practices. Evidence shocked consumers who had chosen to pay premium prices for organic products to contribute to the ethical treatment of animals.
During its grueling investigation, ARM found the same disgusting conditions, abuse, and cruelty towards the dairy cows documented during its conventional dairy farm investigations. Investigators captured dairy cows being tormented daily. Cows were stabbed with screwdrivers, kicked, and dragged when unable to stand due to illness and fatigue. Employees repeatedly violently inseminated the cows. The ARM investigator witnessed Mother cows chased while giving birth, and the babies immediately ripped away from their mothers.
A crucial component of this investigation also lies within the countless gross violations made by Natural Prairie Dairy regarding to the USDA’s organic dairy certification guidelines, including pasture grazing stipulations of no less than 120 days per year during the grazing season.
Natural Prairie Dairy, located in Channing, Texas, houses over 25,000 cows between its four locations. Donald DeJong is the owner and CEO. Soon after ARM began this investigation, it also discovered that DeJong is the vice-chairman of Select Milk Producers and a Board of Directors member of Fairlife. He has strong personal and business associations with Mike McCloskey of Fair Oaks Farms and Fairlife.
Natural Prairie Dairy currently supplies raw dairy to Kroger, Target, Costco, and Publix through Aurora Organic Dairy’s bottling plant in Denver, Colorado. Natural Prairie Dairy is expanding its operations with construction underway in Newton County, Indiana, that will supply dairy to Meijer Grocer, the Midwest, and East Coast.
For the complete details of the finding in this investigation, read the full report below.
Consumer power is the most effective vehicle towards creating change by raising awareness of these criminal findings and choosing alternative plant-based products.