If all news is good news, PETA again struck it big with a video showing less-than-ideal situations on a Hickory, N.C., farm. The news was then picked up by the Associated Press. But if some news is bad news for PETA, then maybe it’s that its latest video didn’t target who they wanted to target, and may not be showing what they wanted to show.

In recent videos showing poor conditions on dairy and other livestock farms, the formula has been consistent — find a farm with bad conditions, link them to a regional or national name brand, and get everyone talking about it. Tuesday’s video is one of the first “animal cruelty” videos that may have failed on both of the former counts, although there was again partial success in distribution.

Misfire on target

Tuesday’s video released by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals targeted Harris Teeter, a grocery store chain with stores in the Southeast, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Maryland, Delaware and the Washington, D.C. Harris Teeter is owned by national grocery giant Kroger, who purchased Harris Teeter in a deal that closed earlier this year.

But although the PETA “investigator” found a milk slip that tied the farm to Piedmont Milk Producers — supplier to Harris Teeter — the grocery chain confirmed that no milk from the farm was sent to Harris Teeter’s stores, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Further complicating the video’s impact are points raised by Dairy Herd Management columnist Carrie Mess, in a post this afternoon on her website, DairyCarrie.com. Mess took still screenshots of the video, showing relatively clean cows walking through a very full (in terms of manure) manure alley in a freestall barn. 

The Charlotte Observer notes that the farm milks only 30 cows, meaning PETA’s alleged 1-foot of manure in the freestall would need some time to accumulate.

PETA says it handed over the evidence to several of North Carolina’s enforcement agencies for further investigation.

An update

On Wednesday morning, Haywood County Animal Control officials said complaints by PETA about the farm are unfounded. While PETA  claimed cows at a farm in Clyde were being mistreated, inspectors from the Department of Agriculture and Animal Control say there was no evidence to support those claims.

Local officials say there were some house-cleaning issues involving the removal of waste that needed to be addressed, but they say wet weather has hampered the farmer’s ability to keep stalls and runways clear.

Also, Harris Teeter told News 13 they will be asking PETA to issue a retraction immediately, as the distributor does not receive milk from Osborne Dairy Farm. http://www.wlos.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/update-peta-claims-abuse-at-wnc-dairy-farm-17342.shtml

Sources: PETA.org, DairyCarrie.com, Charlotte Observer