Update: Harris Teeter denies PETA allegations of animal abuse at WNC dairy farm

Update 8/12 3 p.m. : 

Charlotte Observer journalist Ely Portillo reports a Harris Teeter representative’s response to PETA’s allegations that the grocery chain buys its milk from a dairy farm that mistreats animals and operates under insanitary conditions.

From the Charlotte Observer:

But Harris Teeter, a subsidiary of the Kroger Co., said it doesn’t receive any milk from the farm in question.

“Harris Teeter has verified with its supplier Piedmont Milk Producers that we do not receive milk from Osborne Dairy Farm. We will be asking PETA to issue a retraction immediately,” said Harris Teeter spokeswoman Catherine Becker. Osborne Dairy Farm, the farm PETA filmed, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Click here for the full story from the Charlotte Observer.

Original 8/12 10 a.m. : 

Both a press release from PETA and a short report from the Associated Press (citing PETA as their source) have linked a Western North Carolina dairy farm to allegedly mistreating its animals.

The AP reported that the farm in question is Osborne Farms in Haywood County, an alleged milk supplier for the grocery chain Harris Teeter. They also reported that this morning the phone line at the farm has been disconnected, and Harris Teeter representatives have yet to comment on the matter.

Xpress spoke with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, but DENR declined comment due to the ongoing nature of the possible investigation.

Original Press Release

From PETA:

Clyde, N.C. — PETA has obtained video footage of emaciated and lame cows trudging through a pool of their own liquified manure at a Haywood County dairy farm that supplies milk to Matthews-based grocery chain Harris Teeter, a Kroger subsidiary. The video shows that the farm’s waste pit has not been emptied for so long that the manure in it has hardened, with excess waste so high that the cows must wade through it up to their knees. It splats onto the cows’ udders just before they are milked and has left the animals—some of whom also suffer from emaciation and lameness—with skin ulcers and painful hoof ailments. Flies swarm around the cows, who stand in the waste while eating. At night, the cows have no grass, straw, or bedding to lie on so as to escape the manure.

PETA’s findings prompted the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources to conduct an emergency inspection of the farm. Local law-enforcement officials plan to investigate the animals’ condition, and the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services is investigating health concerns related to the production of the farm’s milk.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, “Animals are not ours to eat … or to abuse in any other way”—is calling on Harris Teeter to re-examine its “animal welfare standards” immediately, reassess its relationship with this farm and all others that it buys from, and take prompt, meaningful action to improve the lives of cows and calves on its milk suppliers’ farms.

“Shoppers have no idea that the milk on Harris Teeter’s shelves comes from a filthy farm where cows suffer from lameness and must wade knee deep through their own waste,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “The cruel and disgusting conditions that PETA found are enough to turn anyone’s stomach—and prompt a switch to soy or almond milk.”

Photographs from the dairy are available here. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

About Hayley Benton
Current freelance journalist and artist. Former culture/entertainment reporter at the Asheville Citizen-Times and former news reporter at Mountain Xpress. Also a coffee drinker, bad photographer, teller of stupid jokes and maker-upper of words. I can be reached at hayleyebenton@gmail.com. Follow me @HayleyTweeet

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

3 thoughts on “Update: Harris Teeter denies PETA allegations of animal abuse at WNC dairy farm


  2. Harris Teeter can deny it all they like – the proof is in the pudding. The whistleblower who supplied PETA with this video followed the truck that picked up milk from Osborne Dairy Farm to Piedmont Milk Sales, which has publicly acknowledged that it exclusively supplies Harris Teeter. This is the disturbing video from the investigation: http://investigations.peta.org/north-carolina-dairy-farm-harris-teeter/. If Osborne, Piedmont, and Harris Teeter are going to continue to turn huge profits off of these animals, the least they can do is admit where cruelty has occurred and work to fix it.

  3. Thank you, PETA, for exposing the abuse that occurs on dairy farms. This is just one of the ways cows suffer for milk. They also have their calves torn from them within hours of birth to be sent to veal farms, and their sensitive horns (or horn tissue) seared or cut off without any painkillers whatsoever. We don’t need to drink cow’s milk—in fact, we’re far healthier if we don’t!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.