Lawsuit accuses Petaluma egg farmer of false advertising

A Sonoma County animal defense fund on Monday filed a class-action lawsuit against a Petaluma egg farmer, alleging his cartons falsely lead consumers to conclude that his chickens roam freely around the farm.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is seeking both unspecified monetary damages and an order forcing the Petaluma Egg Farm to change its cartons.

The lawsuit alleges that cartons for the farm's Judy's Family Farm brand depict hens in an outdoor environment, when the cage-free birds actually are confined in immense chicken houses. It cites one carton that says the hens "are raised in wide open spaces in Sonoma Valley, where they are free to &‘roam, scratch, and play.'"

The images and statements "are objectively false and are likely to induce reasonable customers to purchase Judy's Family Farm Eggs by appealing to their concerns about animal welfare," according to the lawsuit filed in Alameda County.

It was the first time in its 33-year history that the Cotati-based defense fund had sued a Sonoma County business.

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