Dairy east of Dallas suspended after report of extreme animal suffering
The largest organic dairy in North Texas has been suspended following allegations of animal cruelty. According to a release, Lone Star Dairy in Wills Point has been suspended by Danone organic milk company Horizon Organic following a whistleblower’s report of "extreme animal suffering" and "mass deaths."
The suspension means that Horizon is no longer using Lone Star as a source for milk.
Photos of operations at the dairy provided to PETA show dead animals strewn across the property and animals in distress.
Some of the allegations
- Calves born at the facility dying from untreated ailments that include diarrhea and pneumonia.
- Dead bodies sometimes left to rot for days before being buried.
- Multiple cows that fell into a 14-foot-deep pit of liquid waste. One cow who was filmed weakly treading in the "fecal soup" could barely walk by the time she was extracted. She was sold for slaughter.
- Cows injured by barbed-wire fencing as they reached for grass and hay that had been dumped out of reach on the other side.
- 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 left to wander the property until they died.
- Bedding provided to the cows with nails in it that injured and crippled them.
- Cows fitted with collars that weren’t loosened as they grew so that they became embedded in the animals’ necks, causing wounds and abscesses.
“Blind and sickly calves, a cow floating in a deep pit of feces, and grounds littered with rotting corpses sound like something out of a horror movie, but that’s exactly what a whistleblower reported at Lone Star Organic Dairy,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “PETA urges consumers to remember that suffering runs rampant wherever animals are used en masse, look beyond meaningless marketing terms like ‘organic,’ and go vegan.”
Located in Van Zandt County 50 miles east of Dallas, Lone Star Dairy was founded in 2015, but was acquired in 2022 by Rise Run Capital, a Dallas private equity firm (whose co-founder Corbin Cook stated at the time that organic milk was more "natural" than increasingly popular plant-based milk).
According to the whistleblower, Rise Run Capital has cut staffing to improve profitability, and is selling "unprofitable" cows for slaughter.
Lone Star's website states that it's home to 4,500 head of cattle with 3,000 cows milking year-round; however, the release from PETA says that the dairy now has approximately 2,300 animals.
: Lone Star's website has been disabled and now
Rise Run founding partners Corbin Cook and Alex Swanston did not respond to a request for comment.
PETA forwarded the whistleblower documentation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is anticipating an investigation into the facility, says spokesperson Moira Colley.
"This footage reveals that even the meager animal protections in the National Organic Program are not enforced on 'organic' farms," Colley says. "It underscores that organic is a meaningless buzzword used to mislead consumers and does nothing to protect animals from suffering and intense abuse."
"Cows on organic dairy farms can be kept in crowded sheds, mired in their own waste, much like cows on factory dairy farms," she says. "They, too, are restrained and forcibly impregnated every year, and their calves are taken from them soon after birth."
According to the Cornucopia Institute, a pro-organic nonprofit, Horizon has a poor track record that includes sourcing milk from factory farms.
One of the selling points of organic milk is one that can also, conversely, cause more suffering: the use of antiobiotics.
"Cows on organic farms often aren’t given antibiotics—even when they’re sick or when their udders become infected, something that happens often—because medicated animals lose their “organic” status," Colley says.