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Suit: Premium Dairy's Cows Surrounded by Dirt, Concrete

Class-action complaint against Tillamook creamery says most cows' life isn't as idyllic as advertised
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2019 1:40 PM CDT
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images/tilo)

(Newser) – Visit the website of the Tillamook County Creamery Association, and you'll view photos of "pampered" cows roaming freely in verdant fields. A new lawsuit from the Animal Legal Defense Fund, however, takes issue with this idyllic imagery from the company that churns out Tillamook-brand butter, cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products, and it wants the creamery to nix what it says is deceptive marketing, per the Oregonian. That's because the ALDF contends in its complaint that the majority of said products come from Threemile Canyons Farm more than 225 miles away from Tillamook, in Boardman, where 32,000 dairy cows (70,000 cattle in total) are kept "continuously confined" in concrete or "barren dirt feedlots," with "robotic carousels" that milk them—a "far cry from the rolling green hills" shown in Tillamook's marketing, which asks consumers to say goodbye to "Big Food."

"Boardman is flat, arid, and often swelteringly hot—nothing like Tillamook County," the suit notes of the industrialized facility, which it says is "so large that it is visible from space." The suit was filed on behalf of four Oregonians who say they paid extra for Tillamook products because they "wanted to support small, pasture-based dairies," per the Oregonian. Tillamook is pushing back on the class-action lawsuit—which plans on asking for $200 in compensation for each Oregon resident claiming to have been misled by Tillamook—saying it "adamantly disagrees" with the allegations from the "anti-dairy" ALDF. "Tillamook takes great pride in being a farmer-owned and farmer-led co-op, and we only work with business partners that share our values and live up to our extremely high standards," it says in a statement. (Read more cheese stories.)

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