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OCA Boycott Target, Aurora Organic, Buys 'Animal Welfare' Certification for its Controversial Dairy Feedlots

Aurora Organic Dairy, the nation's largest factory farm supplier of "organic" milk just announced their animal welfare certification today. They've also recently introduced their own brand of milk and butter (High Meadows). Please read about this formidable competitor to real organic dairy products...

Mark A. Kastel
The Cornucopia Institute
608-625-2042 Voice
866-861-2214 Fax
P.O. Box 126
Cornucopia, Wisconsin 54827

 Aurora owns two feedlot dairies (factory farms), and are developing two others, and is widely viewed in the organic community, by both farmers and consumers, as a "bad actor", attempting to profiteer at the expense of the livelihood of truly ethical family farmers. Now they are attempting to "calm consumer concerns" by purchasing the blessing of a corporate-friendly alternative to the organic label. If you can't meet the organic standards why not go out and find or invent some other standards that you can meet? Money talks but the flatulence of the thousands of cows, on unhealthy, high-production diets, managed by Aurora is drowning out their propaganda.

For a long time watchdogs like Consumers Union have been concerned with the smokescreen created by invented "eco labels" that attempt to undermine legitimate programs like the USDA's National Organic Program. Aurora did not choose to become certified by the Humane Farm Animal Care Certification Program, called a "highly meaningful label" by CU, or one of the other four animal welfare labels they critiqued on their web site (, instead they purchased the blessing of a corporate greenwasher in their attempt to cleanse their reputation. Why not just adhere to the widely acceptable organic standards?

Please feel free to consult our web site ( for photographs of Aurora's Colorado industrial dairy.

Aurora's primary business is producing private-label "organic" dairy products for major national chains such as Safeway, Costco and Wild Oats. Their milk ships all around the country and undercuts truly environmentally sustainable farmers. We have learned that they have just introduced their own brand packaged milk, High Meadows, in Publix supermarkets in Florida and High Meadows butter at Costco.

Mark Kastel
The Cornucopia Institute

Calm consumer concerns. More than ever before, consumers are concerned about the way animals are raised and handled on the farm. Validus offers consumers third-party verification that producers are adhering to acceptable animal welfare standards. Click on the links on the left to discover the programs Validus offers to deliver peace of mind.

S. From Validus Web site

Press Release

Source: Aurora Organic Dairy

Aurora Organic Dairy Earns Animal Welfare Certification
Wednesday July 19, 7:13 pm ET

Organic Dairy Leader Is First and Only Organic Dairy in Nation to Qualify for Certification

BOULDER, Colo., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Aurora Organic Dairy (AOD), the nation's leading producer-processor of private-label organic milk and butter, recently completed the rigorous Animal Welfare Review certification process from Validus Services (Validus). Aurora Organic Dairy, to date, is the only organic dairy in the nation to achieve this recognized animal welfare certification.

The independent third-party certification agency, Validus, Urbandale, Iowa, awarded the Animal Welfare Review certification to AOD's Colorado farm in June, after the organic dairy company undertook a voluntary, detailed assessment and audit of its practices. Further, AOD's Texas organic dairy has completed the assessment step in the certification process and now is undergoing the audit procedures to qualify for the Animal Welfare Review certification at AOD's second organic dairy. Additionally, all future AOD organic dairy farms will undergo Animal Welfare Review certification.

According to Dr. Juan Velez, vice president of farm operations for AOD, adopting a set of measurable indicators related to animal welfare, and then monitoring them both on-farm and with the oversight of third-party certification, provide the best assurance for both the organic industry and consumers that organic farms are upholding excellent animal well-being standards. "As animal-care professionals, we know that a combination of important elements contribute to superior animal care, and those practices and criteria often are not apparent to the casual observer, so an official certification brings added assurance," Dr. Velez explains.

Additionally, Dr. Velez says that he aims to promote the importance of animal welfare to the entire organic dairy industry and will challenge large and small organic producers alike to adhere to stricter animal welfare standards. "I believe that animal welfare is critical to promoting environmental sustainability and to upholding organic standards," the large-animal veterinarian says. "We have asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program to strengthen various, related standards."

Dairy Animal Welfare Review is the only dairy USDA Process Verified animal welfare program. The standards for Dairy Animal Welfare Review certification are stringent, established by an independent scientific committee of experts that regularly reviews and updates certification criteria to ensure the program meets industry expectations. Validus' Animal Welfare Review Scientific Committee consists of leading experts across the country and the program is annually reviewed by renowned animal welfare researcher Temple Grandin, Ph.D., associate professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Ft. Collins, and author of numerous articles and books, including the New York Times bestseller Animals in Translation.

According to Earl Dotson, president and chief executive officer of Validus the Animal Welfare Review certification provides value to individuals and companies doing business with AOD. "Consumers, especially, want assurance that the products they purchase come from farms where the well-being of animals is a priority," he says.

In its 6-year history, Validus has completed more than 5,400 on-farm assessments for leading agriculture, retail and food service companies. The certification organization's trained nationwide network includes 170 trained assessors and auditors. Each auditor is trained in ISO 9001 standards. The International Standards Organization (ISO) is the recognized, worldwide federation of national standards bodies.

Implemented on-farm by Validus' auditors, the certification program requires that producers comply with criteria established for comprehensive animal welfare. Areas covered by specific criteria include animal well-being and management; herd health procedures and care; nutrition and water quality standards; farm environment (both animal comfort and cleanliness); and biosecurity procedures. Validus will conduct follow-up audits on an annual basis to ensure the dairy remains in compliance with animal welfare criteria.

About Aurora Organic Dairy

Aurora Organic Dairy is America's leading producer of private-label and store-brand organic milk and butter. The organic production company includes headquarters offices in Boulder, Colo., and an organic dairy farm and on-farm organic dairy processing plant near Platteville, Colo. A second organic-dairy farm near Dublin, Texas, currently comprises 2,400 acres of croplands, pasture and milking facilities. A third organic-dairy farm, High Plains Organic Dairy, is currently being developed with the Cockroft family near Kersey, Colo. Once completed, the organic dairy farm will feature state-of-the-art animal-handling operations, environmental sustainability programs and pasture for all lactating cows. The new farm will begin organic milk production in fall 2006. For more information visit

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