Syracuse.com reports investigations by the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets and other experts show the Willet Dairy meets or exceeds animal-care standards despite accusations by an animal-rights organization.
An undercover worker from Mercy for Animals, a Chicago-based animal-rights group, released a video showing what it called inhumane treatment of cows and calves at Willet Dairy. Results from two investigations found the dairy’s workers used care practices equal to or above industry standards. The final reports showed no systemic abuse of cattle on the farm.
The investigation was completed by state Department of Agriculture and Markets, state Cattle Health and Assurance Program, state College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Health Diagnostic Center and ProDairy.
The investigation did find one dairy worker from the video hitting a cow on the nose with a screwdriver handle. That employee, Phil Niles, pleaded guilty to animal cruelty. He was fined $350, was fired from the dairy and is denied contact with animals for a year, according to The Post-Standard.
Apart from the charge against Niles, practices on the farm kept the 5,000-cow dairy cows clean and well cared for. Some of the practices Mercy for Animals found inhumane were common and according to the district attorney’s report, “not currently illegal in New York state.”
The undercover work who released the video admitted he is not an expert on dairy operations or New York state animal-welfare laws.