Many things have changed at Bettencourt Dairies since an undercover video showing alleged animal abuse made headlines last August.
The claims at Bettencourt Dairies’ Dry Creek Dairy facility near Hansen, Idaho, led to the conviction of a former worker earlier this year and prompted Bettencourt and other dairies around the state to improve employee training and vetting.
Now, thanks to Mireille Chahine, associate professor and extension dairy specialist at the University of Idaho, more education on animal welfare is “on the horizon” for the state’s dairy workers, according to a report by the Twin Falls Times-News.
“You have to have good animal care to have good animal production,” Chahine said. “Dairy producers understand that.”
While classes on feeding, dairy reproduction and milk are already offered at the University of Idaho extension office in Twin Falls, animal welfare classes are scheduled to be added this summer. Employees will also soon see signs around dairies that explain 10 guidelines for animal welfare -- thanks to funding from the Idaho Beef Council and Idaho Dairyman’s Association (IDA).
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. “