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 all time into 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. This also lends to the justification behind premium prices of organic dairy products, compared to conventional dairy products.
However, people concerned with these issues are ultimately being deceived about the realities of how their food is being produced and the companies which they support, which ARM documented and exposed during its four month long investigation in 2019.
During its grueling investigation, ARM concluded with the same abhorrent conditions, abuse and cruelty towards the dairy cows, that was evident in ARM’s conventional dairy farm investigations. Amongst these criminal acts upon animals, the investigator documented dairy cows being tormented on a daily basis. Cows were stabbed with screwdrivers, kicked and dragged when unable to stand due to illness and fatigue. Cows were repeatedly and violently inseminated and mother cows were witnessed being chased whilst giving birth, and the babies immediately ripped away from their mothers.
A crucial component of this investigation also lies within the countless and gross violation made by Natural Prairie Dairy in regards to the USDA’s organic dairy certification guidelines, including pasture grazing stipulations of no less than 120 days per year during grazing season.
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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 and 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 in the process of 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.