Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Myth of Dean Foods' Horizon Organic Dairy Products and of Free Range Organic Dairy in General - More Evidence On the Lies Behind the Industry

The is a very serious issue. One that will only grow in size in the coming years.
I have listed the urls for a few related articles. The first one is VERY related.
Actually shows photos of the Aurora "Organic Dairy" that is mentioned below.
From the actual group that is calling for an investigation of it. Very interesting reading. I encourage all to visit each article.

The point is to question and not just accept what these companies
say (especially when owned by a large corporation like Dean Foods. Did anyone ever really think that when Horizon Organic sold out to Dean Foods that they would have good intentions? Come on...)

Also, and most importantly, demand strict standards.

Articles:

Cornucopia Institute Requests Full USDA Investigation of Aurora Dairy

http://www.cornucopia.org/

See pictures from same site on supposed "organic" farms -
http://cornucopia.org/index.php/horizon-factory-farm-photo-gallery/

Photos of the truth behind a Horizon operation -
http://cornucopia.org/pasture/?page_id=18 Organic my ...

Clouds on the Organic Horizon
Is organic farming becoming the victim of its own success? -
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11712



This is a column the Denver Post business section 11/29/05. Humanely raised
organic free range milk and eggs are a myth that is nothing but a marketing
tool perpetuated by the meat and dairy industry to soften the horror of
factory farming.


Cow pies fly over organic standards
By Al Lewis
Denver Post Staff Columnist
Organic cows are happy cows, grazing free in green pastures - at least that's
what the organic-milk cartons imply. The less stress on the cow, goes the
logic, the better the milk. Consumers who pay a premium for organic milk are
supposed to feel good about subsidizing this expensive bovine lifestyle.
Ordinary dairy cows, by contrast, are strapped to a big corporate sucking
machine for up to 10 months a year. And they typically get turned into
hamburger before they can complain about it. But Steve Wells, 48, who runs a
32,000- acre ranch east of Greeley, says he didn't let the so-called organic
cows out of his feedlot very often. Wells was a contractor for Boulder-based
Aurora Organic Dairy, which supplies milk for private labels in stores such
as Safeway, Wild Oats, Target and Costco, and also to Dean Foods' Horizon
Organic. Wells, a fourth-generation rancher, said Aurora Organic didn't pay
him for access to his pastures, so he didn't provide it. He claims Aurora
Organic broke promises to him and used him to create the illusion of
pasture-roaming cows: "They blew so much smoke, they looked like the train
from 'Petticoat Junction."' Wells is smoking his own pipe, say Aurora Organic
officials. "He is a former supplier," said Clark Driftmier, Aurora Organic's
vice president of marketing. "We terminated relations with him earlier this
year. He became disgruntled and decided to make false and disparaging
statements about our company." So I spent hours on the phone Monday listening
to allegations and counterallegations regarding milk production, organic
standards and the unfortunate lives of cows. Folks from Aurora Organic told
me Wells pulled out a gun and chased their employees off his ranch. No police
report was filed. Wells categorically denies wielding a gun and said the
allegation was invented to discredit him. "They are gonna twist this thing,"
Wells said. "I heard they are getting ready to sue me. That's fine. I don't
care. They can bring a $400-an-hour attorney to the table and I'll bring the
truth, and we'll see who wins." For now, Wells is providing new ammunition
for the Cornucopia Institute, a small, Wisconsin-based group that advocates
"economic justice for the family-scale farms." Earlier this year, Cornucopia
complained to the U.S. Agriculture Department that Aurora Organic wasn't
living up to organic standards. The department dismissed the complaint.
Earlier this month, though, Cornucopia filed a new complaint, based primarily
on a visit to Wells' ranch. "It's a confinement farm masquerading as
something organic," Cornucopia co-founder Mark Kastel said of Aurora Organic,
which has more than 5,000 dairy cows. "You can't manage that many cows and
logistically move them" from milking operations to pastures, Kastel said. Not
so, said Driftmier, who says that as a small-farm activist, Kastel simply
resents anything big. "Cornucopia is a renegade activist group who has on
several occasions distributed false and disparaging information about us,"
Driftmier said. "In each case, the accusations were found to be entirely
without merit. ... They throw as much mud on the wall as possible and expect
us to go back and clean it off." I knew I could not get to the bottom of this
spat, so I called Dave Carter, a Coloradan who serves on the National Organic
Standards Board, which advises the USDA. Carter also knows folks at Aurora
Organic and Cornucopia. "This is frustrating," he told me. "I've been on the
standards board for five years, and this has been a continuing point of
concern." To be organically certified, cows must have access to pasture, but
the law doesn't specify how much access. It's so vague, organic ranchers
could come to any number of interpretations, Carter told me, adding that
Aurora Organic is advocating a broad interpretation. "Their interpretation of
'access to pasture' is beyond what the regulations intended to provide,"
Carter said. Please, don't tell the cows, though. There's huge demand for
organic milk, and they are too busy producing it to be bothered with all this
petty bickering. Al Lewis' column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Fridays.
Respond to Al at denverpostbloghouse.com/lewis, 303-820-1967 or
alewis@denverpost.com.

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