Western United Dairymen today strongly condemned an undercover video in which an Ohio dairy farm worker is seen beating cows and calves. The worker has been fired by his employer and was charged Wednesday with 12 counts of cruelty to animals. The video was recorded in an undercover investigation at Conklin Dairy Farms Inc., said Mercy For Animals, a not-for-profit group that publicizes what it calls cruel practices in the dairy, meat and egg industries and promotes a vegan diet. The video, released on May 26, shows a worker repeatedly abusing the livestock.

“While viewing this video, I was filled with disgust and anger,” said WUD President Jamie Bledsoe. “The actions depicted on this video do not in any way represent the methods used by California dairy families while caring for their cows. We care deeply about the health and safety of our cows. Their care is my number one priority not only because a healthy cow produces high-quality milk but because it is the right thing to do.”

Bledsoe continued, “As disturbing as this video is, it is also very disturbing that those who shot this video admit they filmed these incidents for a month before reporting it to the authorities. For those of us who have viewed this horrific video, it is unconscionable that this undercover activist would remain silent for that long while these animals suffered miserably from this mistreatment. Those who stand by and do nothing in the face of this horrendous abuse are morally, if not legally, culpable. Western United Dairymen believes that that the severest penalties allowed by law should be imposed on all parties involved, as well as those who failed to stop and report these actions immediately to the proper authorities.”

WUD is working with legal counsel, Anthony Raimondo, to develop guidelines for its members that would require dairy employees to immediately report any instances of animal abuse they witness to the dairy owner. If the allegations were found to be true, the employee would agree that they would be fired immediately and the matter turned over to law enforcement. The guidelines would become part of the employees’ handbooks.

WUD is a voluntary membership organization representing more than 60% of the milk produced in California. Membership benefits include resources in labor law, environmental regulations and pricing issues. Members decide the direction of state and federal legislative efforts affecting the dairy industry.