April 10th, 2013

Today consumers are becoming much more conscious about where their food comes from. Specifically, more information is available about the conditions in which animals are raised. To connect with people’s sensitivities about animal cruelty, some producers have advertised their products (i.e. chicken and turkey) as “humanely raised” or have included statements suggesting that they do not engage in cruel tactics.

Purdue Farms, known for its chicken and turkey products, is the target of a class action lawsuit alleging that it falsely labels its products as “humanely raised” and “USDA Process Verified” in an attempt to persuade consumers to buy them. Brought by the Humane Society of the United States, the plaintiff’s class alleges that Purdue routinely keeps chickens in extreme conditions with no food or water, uses electric shocks or drowns chickens to slaughter them, and transports birds in cramped spaces.

Suffice it to say, the plaintiffs believe that the practices and conditions Purdue incorporates are anything but humane. As such, they insist that the labeling that touts humane (and proper) procedures is deceptive. As we have noted in prior posts, companies are prohibited from using labels, phrases or statements that would lead a reasonable consumer to believe that the product is something that it is not.

Purdue filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims, but the court denied it, explaining that the class “sufficiently pled that a reasonable consumer may have interpreted the Humanely Raised label to include the processes to which the chicken is exposed throughout its life, including slaughter.”

If you have questions about deceptive or false advertising claims, an experienced attorney can advise you.

Source: TopClassActions.com, Purdue can’t dismiss ‘humanely raised’ chicken class action lawsuit, April 9, 2013

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