SONORA, CALIF. – Diestel Turkey Ranch celebrated one court win only to be faced with two additional lawsuits. But the company is steadfast in the validity of its farming and turkey production practices.
Heidi Diestel, a fourth-generation turkey grower with the family-owned company, explained that Diestel has been “actively engaged” in litigation with Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), a grassroots network of animal rights activists and one of the plaintiffs in lawsuits filed in California and New Mexico against Diestel.
“Since 2015, this group has spread many misleading statements, videos and press releases that blatantly misrepresent our practices,” she said. “We have provided numerous statements, third-party validations and full transparency to all of the claims this group has made. As an example, during our trial, DxE was forced to abandon its most outrageous and spurious claim regarding illicit drug and chemical use as the evidence clearly supported our 'No Antibiotics Ever' raising practices.”
Most recently, the Alameda County Circuit Court entered a final judgement in favor of Diestel, but the victory celebration was short lived — complaints filed in California and New Mexico federal courts accuse Diestel Turkey Ranch of misleading consumers about the origins and growing conditions of its turkeys. The plaintiffs allege that the main source of Diestel’s turkey is from off-site facilities with poultry barns housing as many as 17,000 birds each. They are seeking class-action status for both lawsuits.
Because of Diestel’s misrepresentations, the complaint states, consumers paid more for Diestel Turkey products — as much as $9.99 per lb at retailers such as Whole Foods and Amazon. The lawsuit contends that other commercially raised birds can sell for as little as $0.59 per lb.
Diestel said the company intends to vigorously defend itself in these new cases as it did in Alameda County Circuit Court.
“We will uphold our family, our industry, our farms, our teams and birds against unreasonable activist groups and the attorneys who misrepresent our practices,” she said. Our family and team will not allow groups such as DxE and attorneys to misrepresent all the hard work we do to supply thoughtfully raised turkeys to our customers.
“For over 70 years, we have pioneered and refined our farming and manufacturing practices, and together with our customers, we have grown as a company,” Diestel said. “For the next 70 years, we will continue to do turkey one way, which we think is the right way. That is what we call the Diestel Difference, and this is a promise to always be – not the biggest – but the BEST.”