Whistleblower: Cows Stuck in Fecal Soup, Dying in Droves at Local Supplier to Horizon Organic


For Immediate Release:
November 16, 2023

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Wills Point, Texas – PETA has been alerted to extreme animal suffering and mass deaths that, according to a whistleblower, occurred at Lone Star Organic Dairy in Van Zandt County, which has over 2,000 cows and supplies milk to Horizon Organic, the largest organic milk company in the country. Today, PETA fired off a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) urging it to immediately open an investigation into the facility and revoke Lone Star’s organic qualification for any violations that it confirms. PETA lists the following whistleblower allegations of extreme cruelty to cows:

  • Most calves born at the facility are dying from untreated ailments that include diarrhea and pneumonia. Dead bodies are strewn throughout the property and sometimes left to rot for days before they’re buried.
  • Multiple cows fell into a 14-foot-deep pit of liquid waste. One of the cows—filmed weakly treading in the fecal soup—could barely walk by the time she was finally extracted. She was sold for slaughter.
  • Cows were injured by barbed-wire fencing as they reached for grass and hay that had been dumped on the other side of it. Some cows escaped through inadequate fencing and were struck and killed by cars.
  • Blind calves were put in a pen with electrified fencing and were repeatedly shocked by it, while blind heifers were simply left to wander the property until they died.
  • Bedding provided to the cows had nails in it that injured and crippled them.
  • Cows were fitted with collars that weren’t loosened as they grew so that they became embedded in the animals’ necks, causing wounds and abscesses.

Photos from the whistleblower are here, and video footage is here.

To be certified organic, the USDA directs organic farmers to provide animals with appropriate conditions in order to minimize the spread of disease, to reduce their stress and potential for injury, to provide clean and dry bedding, and to keep living areas in good condition, including by frequently removing waste.

“Cows are caring, doting mothers who bellow in distress when their calves are taken from them, yet at Lone Star Organic Dairy, they’re reportedly forced to watch their babies die by the dozen,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “This hell on Earth is exactly why PETA urges consumers to see beyond humane washing, never fall for meaningless buzzwords like ‘organic,’ and go vegan.”

According to the whistleblower, much of the misery can be laid at the feet of Rise Run Capital, a local private equity firm that bought the dairy last year and is reportedly seeking to increase profits by cutting staffing and selling “unprofitable” cows for slaughter.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—also shared the findings with Horizon Organic, urging it to cut ties with the farm, and with the organic certifiers responsible for visiting the facility on behalf of the USDA’s National Organic Program, requesting a new inspection.

For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.


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