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We support the lawsuit that consumers have brought against the Tillamook County Creamery Association regarding Tillamook’s representations about the company’s dairy products.
As consumer demand grows for dairy products from animals raised more humanely on sustainable family farms, the dairy industry has been doubling down on marketing efforts to trick consumers into believing that their products reflect these consumer values when they do not. Some of Tillamook’s ads encouraged consumers to “Say Goodbye to Big Food,” despite Tillamook’s sourcing the majority of its milk from Eastern Oregon’s Threemile Canyon Farms, one of the largest mega-dairies in the country. Tillamook also bought milk from the disastrous Lost Valley Farm, an Eastern Oregon mega-dairy permitted for up to 30,000 cows that racked up hundreds of environmental violations in its first year-and-a-half of operation and has since been permanently shuttered.
Tillamook’s marketers depict cows roaming freely on rolling green hills, while knowing that this is not the reality of how these large, industrial facilities operate. On industrial dairies, cows are intensively confined with little or no access to pasture, artificially and repeatedly impregnated starting at around two years old to produce mass quantities of milk, and separated from their young calves shortly after birth. Once they stop producing enough milk to meet the intense and unnatural industrial demand, they are culled and sent to slaughter at a fraction of their natural lifespan.
Industrial mega-dairies are also major polluters, generating huge quantities of waste that is disposed of—virtually untreated—on land where it can contaminate rivers, streams, and groundwater and harm wildlife. The noxious air emissions these facilities produce can threaten public health, contribute to climate change, and decrease visibility in special places like the Columbia Gorge.
Tillamook’s increasing reliance on industrial mega-dairies to ramp up production further contributes to overproduction, which lowers prices for family farmers and contributes to Oregon’s devastating decline in family dairies.
Tillamook’s representations in advertising are just one example of why we need a moratorium on new and expanding mega-dairies in Oregon until the state institutes safeguards to protect Oregon’s family farmers, environment, and communities. We applaud the plaintiffs’ effort to hold Tillamook accountable for the way it markets its dairy products.
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August 19, 2019