UPDATE, 3:28 p.m.

Alexandre Family Farm provided the following statement to the Outpost in response to the Farm Forward report and the story in The Atlantic:

Alexandre Family Farm has been targeted as part of an ongoing campaign by an animal rights activist group questioning the validity of humane farming certifications. The organization collaborated with a well-known writer who is a self-described radical vegan to publish an article in The Atlantic that contains allegations against Alexandre Family Farm.

As soon as we learned of the allegations, we contacted the activist organization to ask for a copy of their report so we could investigate thoroughly, as we would any allegation of mistreatment on our farms. We were denied the opportunity to view any of the allegations until the report was shared publicly on their website.

We also invited the organization to visit our farm but received no reply to our invitation.

We have an open-door policy on our farm. We actively invite anybody and everybody to come visit our farm at any time to meet us and see our animals.

Our mission on our family dairy farm over the past 30 years has been to farm in harmony with nature, honoring the Earth and all the animals under our stewardship. Caring for our animals is the foundation of what we do. We take any allegation of mistreatment on our farm very seriously. Every time we are alerted to a problem, we take action to improve.

We accept responsibility for all animal treatment on our farm. Now that we have had a chance to read the report, we have determined that many of the allegations are either totally false or fabricated half-truths. If we uncover areas for improvement, we will take appropriate steps to address them. We have already taken significant steps to improve protocols, increase employee training and provide whistleblower access to ensure all employees are following protocols for proper treatment.

We are guided by a deep care for our animals as well as protocols established by experts in the treatment of farm animals. Our adherence to these animal welfare standards is backed up by hundreds of pages of inspection reports from independent organizations that have conducted regular as well as random inspections on our farm over the years. These reputable organizations include Certified Humane, Validus, American Humane, CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers), Regenerative Organic Certified, and the National Dairy FARM Program.

In addition to certifications, audits, and surprise inspections, we have an animal nutritionist, local veterinarians and national experts in animal welfare who visit our farm on a regular basis. Hundreds of visitors tour our farm every year. We literally have thousands of eyes witnessing our farm and we continue to follow our purpose of serving the health of our animals, the Earth and our consumers whose trust and nutritional needs are what we work for daily.


Original post:

Screenshot of a YouTube video published by Farm Forward.


A new report published by the nonprofit organization Farm Forward, whose mission is to end factory farming, takes aim at Crescent City-based Alexandre Family Farm, which the report describes as “arguably the leading higher welfare, Organic, and Certified Humane dairy operation.”

Contrary to the implications of such certifications, the report says investigators uncovered “systemic deception, cruelty, and animal abuse” at the company’s farming operations, which are run by the Alexandre family on sites in Del Norte and Humboldt counties.

A story published concurrently by The Atlantic (here’s a link, though there’s a paywall if you’re not a subscriber) comes to similar conclusions, describing a number of gruesome incidents and ailments among the farm’s dairy cows and blaming regulatory agencies for lax oversight.

The Atlantic piece, by reporter Annie Lowrey, notes that organic certification by the USDA, for example, prohibits milk producers from giving their cows antibiotics. While the purpose of this rule is “to prevent farmers from providing the drugs prophylactically, which facilitates overcrowding and contributes to antibiotic resistance,” it winds up “lead[ing] farmers to withhold medicine from sick animals, too,” Lowrey reports.

While visiting the main operation in Crescent City, Lowrey asked owners Blake and Stephanie Alexandre to respond to the report. From The Atlantic:

[T]hey questioned the motivations of the whistleblowers, speculating that they were disgruntled former employees and associates, and ventured that some of the photographs might have been staged or doctored. They described some of the depicted incidents as false, implausible, or exaggerated, while saying that others were tragedies or accidents to which they had responded with corrective action.

Below is a video released by Farm Forward. Be warned: some of the footage is graphic and disturbing:

Our Wild Rivers Outpost reporter Jessica Andrews plans to follow up on Farm Forward’s report next week, so check back for updates.