The Real Reason Organic Valley Is Being Sued Over Its Milk Marketing

While a good number of consumers are shifting to nut milks in the name of health, it doesn't change the fact that there are still good reasons to drink cow's milk. Dietitian Sarah Rueven tells Eat this, Not That! that aside from having eight grams of protein, "Milk contains many important nutrients, including vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A. "Most dairy milks are also fortified with vitamin D, a vitamin that is not widely found in our food supply but is important for immune function, bone health, and mood regulation, among other things."

And if the choice is between organic and conventional milk, chances are consumers would pick organic milk because of the health benefits the product is meant to have. Per UC Davis, organic livestock can't be fed with anything that contains pesticides and fertilizer, and they cannot be treated with drugs such as hormones or antibiotics. And because these products lack artificial additives, we've been told that organic products as a whole are better for us.

A lawsuit alleges Organic Valley is engaged in deceptive marketing

All this hasn't kept the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation (PETA) from filing a class-action lawsuit against organic milk producer Organic Valley cooperative. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Amber Takahashi-Mendoza, who claims Organic Valley's packaging tricks people into thinking they are buying a wholesome dairy product, when what they are getting is milk that is being produced by dairy cows who are stressed out because they have been separated from their newborn calves, per News 8 Now.

PETA quotes Takahashi-Mendoza as saying that "All babies need their mothers, and as a mother myself, I can't imagine a greater trauma than having my newborn taken from me."

She adds: "I am sure other people bought Organic Valley milk thinking its cartons promising humane animal care practices — not to mention love — meant it didn't inflict some of the cruelest practices typical of dairy factory farming."

PETA also contends that Organic Valley's marketing tactic which it called "deception", has made the group a leader in its field and helped it to earn 1 billion in sales for 2020.

PETA says the practice of separating cows and calves is inhumane

But there is another underlying reason for the lawsuit, which The Washington Post also sees as "the latest salvo" against the practice of separating cows from calves — which may go back decades, but which animal rights activists say is inhumane. The dairy industry claims that the practice is meant to keep baby calves healthy, but the lawsuit says it leaves both mother and baby stressed and more likely to get sick.

The lawsuit says: "Numerous studies have established that abrupt and premature weaning impairs immune responses in calves, such as by impairing the function of cellular and other defenses against pathogens necessary to prevent potentially deadly infections."

One dairy farmer has already told The Post that there is at least one financial reason why cows and calves cannot be kept together. Myron Martin, who sells his milk to Organic Valley, says: "As the calf ages, it takes more and more of the milk. We wouldn't have any milk to sell."