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A Farm You Can Stand Behind: Diestel's 68-Year Commitment to Animal Welfare and Sustainability

Posts Friday, November 17th

Dear Diestel Consumers,

You may have heard about the lawsuit and protests being pursued by the animal rights activist group DxE. We wanted to offer some perspective.

Diestel strongly denies any wrong doing and will vigorously defend itself and our farming practices against these baseless claims. DxE’s allegations are unfounded and do not represent our farm or our family’s sustainable farming practices.  We are very proud of the treatment of our turkeys, along with our efforts to be transparent to our consumers.  We strongly believe that our advertising is not false in any manner.  It is important to understand that the mission of animal activist groups like DxE is not farm animal welfare, but a total end to animal agriculture and meat consumption.  While DxE will never support turkey farming, for those that do, Diestel strives to be a choice that our customers can feel proud to stand behind.

To address their claims specifically, Diestel was one of the first turkey producers to achieve the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) highest 5 rating for its Pasture Raised Holiday Turkey. These, however, are not our only birds, nor do we claim they are.  Our original ranch in Sonora, which is shown on our website, is an operational ranch and is currently home to our pasture raised birds.  We also raise turkeys in accordance with other GAP Step standards at Diestel farms located throughout Tuolumne and surrounding counties, many of which are also shown on our website.  For example, Diestel’s Certified Organic Turkeys are GAP Rated Step 3, meaning the birds are raised in a more barn-centered environment, encompassing enrichments such as oak branches, alfalfa bales and also given seasonal outdoor access.  In addition, our “all-natural” birds are raised in accordance with GAP Step 2 standards. All of our ranches regularly undergo audits by third party auditors in accordance with the requirements of GAP’s animal welfare rating system.  Our GAP rated turkeys are clearly labeled with the appropriate step rating on the shipping box as well as the scale tag sticker on the bird itself.  More information on GAP ratings and our animal welfare practices can be found here.

In addition, while none of our packaging labels claim that the birds are “free range” or “humane,” as DxE claims, our commitment to farming practices that are respectful to the animals and land have been developed over the past 67 years that our family has owned and operated Diestel Turkey Ranch. Going beyond GAP, at Diestel we have always endeavored to provide the most sustainable and natural environments for our birds.  We go the extra mile for our birds by spreading deep, fresh pine-wood shavings in our barns to receive new poults. We also mill our own feed free from animal by-products and use a lower energy blend to allow for slower growth rates.  Our slow growing feed rations help us make sure we don’t push the turkeys to grow up faster than what is naturally intended.  Our products are inspected by the USDA and tested in accordance with the FSIS National Residue Program in order to confirm the absence of antibiotics and other prohibited substances, thereby validating our antibiotic free farming practices.  We have also pioneered innovative chemical free practices to increase the cleanliness of the birds’ drinking water, which has a positive impact on overall bird health. Each day we look for ways to raise our turkeys that are better for the bird and better for the environment, from composting our waste to filtering and reusing water and overall maintaining balance between nature and farming. We highly value third party organizations like the USDA, which inspects our processing plants, and the Global Animal Partnership and Oregon Tilth Certified Organic, which conduct regular audits of our farms to validate our farming practices.

We are more than happy to discuss our commitment to our farming practices, including animal welfare and sustainability, and answer any questions. Reach out to us at [email protected] or 209.532.4950. There’s also always an open invitation to visit our farms and see for yourself.

Thank you for your continued support of our family and farm,

Tim, Joan, Jason, Garrett & Heidi Diestel