The 10,000 cow Case Vander Eyk, Jr. industrial-scale dairy is located in central California, near the small community of Pixley. Vander Eyk operates what is called a “split operation.” At least 3500 of the cows are managed, on the same factory-farm, as an organic herd. It’s a complex approach to organics and one that is magnified by the size of this factory dairy.
The Cornucopia Institute filed a legal complaint with the USDA in February, 2005 requesting an investigation of the organic livestock management practices on this factory dairy. In particular, Cornucopia requested that USDA investigate the factory-farm’s animal confinement practices for the organic milking herd and lack of pasturing. That initial complaint was dismissed several months later – at the direction of National Organic Program management – without any investigation. The Cornucopia Institute is currently examining other legal remedies.
The following pictures, recently taken at the Vander Eyk factory-farm, reveal its approach to organic dairying. As you view the images, ask yourself if this is how you define organics. The photos come from a farm visit by students doing research at the UC-Berkeley.