Santa Fe woman sues popular turkey farm

New Mexico News

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico woman is suing one of the nation’s biggest turkey producers accusing the company of making false claims about how their turkeys are raised. With only three days until Thanksgiving, you may have seen Diestel Turkeys sold at high-end grocery stores like Whole Foods throughout Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

In a Diestel Turkey Ranch promotional video and the packaging on their products, the farm claims it can promise quality products. “The marketing statements that Diestel has relied on for years, is ‘thoughtfully raised,'” said the woman’s attorney Gretchen Elsner. She says her client bought one of those turkeys two years ago in Santa Fe and was very disappointed.

They’ve now filed a federal lawsuit against the central California-based Deitsel Family Ranch. “It turns out that the birds are not being raised in a way that meets any consumer understanding of thoughtfully raised because the birds don’t have any individual care,” said Elsner.

Elsner says a non-profit company based in San Francisco shot an undercover video at one of the Diestel Farms. They allege it shows injured turkeys, crammed into unsanitary conditions. “She would not have spent her money on that if she knew she wasn’t getting anything different than a Butterball turkey,” Elsner said.

On the company’s website, their turkeys can run anywhere from $76 to $126. Heidi Diestel, one of the owners, spoke to KRQE News 13 on the phone and says they disagree with the claims and the allegations are false and do not represent the practices at their farms. The lawsuit is asking the ranch to reimburse everyone who has ever bought their turkeys and to change the language on their packaging.

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