It has been nearly a year since an undercover video taken at Bettencourt Dairies’ Dry Creek Dairy Facility near Hansen, Idaho, made national headlines on allegations of animal abuse.
In the wake of the video, one former worker was sentenced for his role in abusing dairy cows and dairies across the state and country are working hard to improve hiring process and employee training. This training now extends beyond the workplace and into a college classroom.
According to the Associated Press, the University of Idaho Extension and the College of Southern Idaho will begin offering classes how to properly handle animals in October. The first phase will focus on animal care, milking, calf-raising and feeding dairy animals.
Terry Patterson, College of Southern Idaho instructional dean, says he's excited about to chance to provide training to current and future dairy employees. Read more here.
The industry's partnership with local colleges was announced in May. Classes on feeding, dairy production and milking are already offered by the University of Idaho Extension office in Twin Falls, Idaho, and they added animal-welfare classes over the summer.
“You have to have good animal care to have good animal production,” Mireille Chahine, associate professor and extension dairy specialist at the University of Idaho, said. “Dairy producers understand that.”
With better education, employees could do more than just avoid mishandling animals. They would also be able to identify abuse and report it. The “See it? Stop it?” initiative hopes to empower workers across both the dairy and pork industry to report improper animal care immediately.
“If you’re an employee, you help stop that,” says Bob Naerebout, executive director of the IDA. “Don’t just watch. “