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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Animal Liberation | Labor & Workers
Photos document animal abuse at Darigold dairies
Farm workers employed on Darigold dairies have risked their jobs to photograph sick and injured cows they are regularly instructed to milk.
"It is an affront to basic human dignity for workers to have to milk these cows, cows farm workers know are in pain and need medical treatment, but to not be able to do anything about it," said Jorge Valenzuela, Regional Director of the United Farm Workers.
"We talk to workers on dozen of dairies that are part of the Darigold cooperative. We hear stories way too often about cows like these, but workers are afraid of protesting the abuse because they know they may very well be fired if they do," Valenzuela added.
So workers milk sick and injured cows.
Scott Beckstead of the Humane Society USA said; "The Humane Society of the United States stands by our friends at the United Farm Workers in speaking up for farm workers and the animals with whom they labor.
"In too many cases, both farm workers and farm animals are treated as little more than expendable commodities. Even worse, farm workers are too often forced to engage in abuse of dairy cows, such as when they’re tasked with cutting cows’ tails off—an inhumane and needless mutilation that renders cows unable to fend off the torment of biting flies," Beckstead said.
In sharing these photos with the public, workers hope that Darigold finally will take action.
Thousands of UFW supporters are today signing petitions calling on the major national retailers who sell Darigold products to ask Darigold to ensure both workers and animals are treated fairly. These retailers include Walmart, Safeway, Albertsons, Cash and Carry and Fred Meyer/QFC/Kroger.
"Farmworkers feel strongly that not only should they not milk these cows, as they don't want consumers to drink this milk, but they also want to make sure sick and injured cows receive prompt medical attention," said Valenzuela.
Consumers File Lawsuit against Darigold, Inc. for Fraudulent Marketing Claims
Filing Cites Darigold Dairies On-Going Worker and Animal Abuses
Seattle, WA--Citing deceptive business practices and consumer fraud, consumers filed a federal class action lawsuit against Darigold, an agricultural marketing cooperative that is one of the largest dairy producers in the country with more than 500 participating farms and total annual sales of almost $2 billion dollars.
In the filing, the plaintiffs claim Darigold fraudulently misrepresents the way its dairy members treat both animals and workers, in marketing materials and the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
The Law Offices of Marcos Camacho and Farmworker Justice are serving as co-counsel for the consumer plaintiffs.
Although Darigold publicly claims that their participating dairies ensure proper care for animal health, promote food safety and provide labor protections, the lawsuit claims Darigold knows its representations are false because of rampant labor and animal rights violations and poor working conditions on dairies. The filing states that Darigold officials know that milk is produced from injured and sick cows, that workers do not have access to drinkable water, sanitary lunch rooms or rest breaks, and that workers at member dairies claim on-going wage theft and workplace discrimination.
“For years, Darigold has held itself out to consumers as a socially responsible company, and for years customers have bought Darigold in reliance on those promises” said Mario Martinez, attorney with the Law Offices of Marcos Camacho. “But now that the company’s history of animal abuse and employment law violations have come to light, former Darigold customers are stepping forward to demand that Darigold live up to its own standards. Our clients have said enough is enough. Darigold must end its ongoing worker and animal abuses.”