Dairy farmers respond to latest abuse video

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The animal-rights group Mercy for Animals released graphic footage this week of employees at the E6 Cattle Company in Hart, Texas, bludgeoning sick and injured calves.

Dairy farmers across the country are speaking out. And, regardless of where the person is located, the theme has been outrage, anger and disappointment towards those committing the abuse.

Ray Prock, Jr. of Ray-Lin Dairy in California had this to say in a recent blog post, “This afternoon, I learned of another undercover video of animal abuse in agriculture and, quite honestly, I feel let down by fellow animal caretakers. I am as horrified as ever that some of the things caught on tape are even happening in agriculture today. There are proper means to euthanize animals to end their suffering; using a hand tool to prolong that suffering is not proper or ethical.

“Many farmers like myself and my family spend long hours caring for our animals the proper way only to have one bad actor ruin it for thousands. I personally have given up sleep and meals to make sure the cows came first. I know farmers who brave some of the worst weather known to mankind to rescue animals, and the thanks we get from another caretaker of animals is a slap in the face. I hope anyone found guilty of any wrongdoing faces the maximum punishment possible.” For more, read Is going Vegan the answer to animal abuse?

Zweber Family Dairy Farm in Minnesota says, “On our farm, animal care is our number one priority. We care for all their needs often before our own. What was shown in the video was not right, and those involved should not be farming and caring for animals. We teach our children at a young age that animals need to be treated with the most care and respect we can give them.” For more, read Calf and Animal Care is our Number One!

Orange Patch Dairy in Minnesota posted, “It was really hard for me to watch such pain and disrespect for these calves. Heart-wrenching doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. I wanted to reach through the screen at take a swing at the abusers! Every day, dairy farmers like myself work diligently, putting the care of our calves and cows first, most times before our own care. It is a black eye on our industry when another situation like this is found. Abuse of this nature is not commonplace in our industry, even though some activists would lead you to believe this. Orange Patch Dairy and other dairies across the nation strive everyday to improve the care we give our animals.” For more, read Too mad to go to bed!

Mike Haley, a fifth-generation grain and cattle farmer from Ohio, had this to say, “I just watched a horrific video filmed by a vegan activist group about how one farm very clearly did not care for the welfare and health of the dairy calves.  I just want to say that I am outraged; nobody should treat an animal in the manner that was depicted in the short video, and everyone involved in the malicious acts should be penalized for their actions.” For more, read No Mercy for Animal Abuse

Michele Payn-Knoper, a professional agricultural speaker based in Lebanon, Ind., said, “Today marks the release of yet another nasty video. One more portrayal of animal abuse. Another one that makes me cry.  You might be surprised that I’m not numb after a decade of monitoring the animal-rights videos. Simply put, they make me sick.

“I shed tears because this is B.S. that is so unfair to the great people who work their rears off to bring you milk, cheese, ice cream, etc. No dairy farmer that I know is looking for your pity, but I want to be sure food consumers understand that making milk is a 365 day/year commitment. A person is a part of the dairy business because they love it. It creeps into your soul as though you have no choice. And that love is the singular guiding factor when equipment breaks down at 3 a.m., a cow needs your help regardless of the family event you planned six months ago and your business operates in the red for six months because milk prices stink (again).” For more, read The Tears I’ve Shed… Animal Abuse

For more, see these additional posts.

Agriculture Proud  Quality Food Begins With Quality Animal Care

Crystal Cattle Animal Abuse in Agriculture

Dairy Innovation Animal abuse: Still a Big No No!

Zweber Farms  Video:Calf Care on Zweber Farms December 2010

killrocfarms Animal abuse: Never acceptable

Pinke Post Link Up Wordless/Wordful Wednesday: Despite Animal Abuse Headlines

Life as an Iowa Farmwife Animal Abuse, Undercover Videos, and Doing the Right Thing

From the Tractor Seat Animal Abuse

The Ole Cowmilkers Random Thoughts Animal Care

Buzzard’s Beat No Excuse

ag – a colorful adventure Hold People to A Higher Standard

Reflections from a Country Boy We Care For Our Livestock!

Loos Tales Interview with the owner of E6 Ranch

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Addison, IL  |  April, 20, 2011 at 03:58 PM

Oh my God!!! This video made me cry! The pain and suffering these defensless calves endured was heart- breaking. I wanted to rescue all of the calves from those cruel workers. What gives them the right to inflict such pain and agony on these calves? I just don;t get it. I'm sure there are plenty of family-owned dairy farms that treat their calves/cows with kindness and repect. Shame on this ranch. These workers need to be arrested for animal cruelty and the place shut down. Shame on them!!

Pullman  |  April, 20, 2011 at 05:29 PM

This story is another blow to the industry, but find a dairyman and talk to them for yourself. We love our animals and like everyone in the above article can testify, we care! If the people taking the videos of these animals cared for animals at all they would of stood up for them. In taking a video of the horrific actions of these people are no better than those that they are recording. Any farmer and rancher can tell you that animal care is priority for any animal. Without healthy animals we cannot provide you the consumers with healthy, wholesome products.

florida  |  April, 20, 2011 at 06:57 PM

I wish there was a way people could find humanely raised dairy products on small farms, not huge factory farms. I stopped eating meat many years ago and now this about dairy products.

Lesley Williams    
UK  |  April, 21, 2011 at 05:15 AM

Not surprised by this video, awful that it goes on but have to be realistic. When money is involved then ethics sometimes go out the window. Trying desperately to cut out milk .. what other option is there, have not seen anything from dairy industry to make me think otherwise. Now they want to build super complexes where cows never go outside .. where will this end? At some point we have to be so careful of so called 'progress', a cow is meant to graze grass, and move around in fresh air. Know that this keeps people in jobs but have to reconcile do I want to be part of all this?!

chesapeake va  |  April, 21, 2011 at 07:40 AM

i went vegan last week. i went to the foodlion and i didn't buy my usual milk 5$ two ice cream $10 cheese $4-$8 or any other product with casein, whey or milk. hmmm thats approx $20-30$ per week so multiply by 52 weeks thats easily 1000.00 per year that the dairy industry will never get from me. these greedy people are despicable and so is our government who not only covers this stuff up but subsidizes the agro industry. our treatment of animals ranks right up there with our treatment of the elderly and children. this i CAN do something about this. I write to officials and i can stop buying any dairy. folks be sure to check labels for casein and whey (these are hidden dairy ingredients). Also there are many dairy/meat alternatives try almond milk, its close to the same price of milk if not cheaper and has 40% less saturated fat, not to mention no hormones or antibiotics or diseases like e.choli from cows with non stop diarrhea from being fed corn.

JAcksonville  |  April, 21, 2011 at 04:11 PM

Factory-farmers always try to claim that this horrendous abuse is isloated, but it is simply not true. Family-farmers may not mistreat their animals, but factory farmers abuse necessarily and it is widespread and well-documented. Anytime someone turns on the video camera, they can find abuse because it is standard industry practice--and for a very good reason. Abusing animals adds a large percentage to the profits of factory farmers. The more animals are crammed into smaller spaces, moved quicker through assembly lines, and treated as machines instead of the creatures they are, the more money they make. That's why the tail-docking, castration, debeaking and overcrowding are standard practices. It's cheaper that way. Last year, spokespersons for the egg industry admitted that grinding live chicks up in a wood-chipper or suffocating them in plastic bags was standard practice. That they can advocate this with a straight face tells us about the depths of their inhumanity. Christian conservative Matthew Scully, deputy director of presidential speech writing for George W. Bush, had this to say in his book Dominion. "In its current form...the AWA [Animal Welfare Act] is a collection of hollow injunctions, broad loopholes, and light penalties when there are any at all..." and "...the persistent animal-welfare questions of our day center on institutional cruelties—on the vast and systematic mistreatment of animals that most of us never see." When conservatives like Scully begin writing books about the cruelty, people should pay attention. The right-wing is not usually willing to denounce lucrative business practices even when they entail gross abuse-- of animals, the environment, or anything else. Transparency is necessary to stop it! Three cheers for the videographers who are willing to go into these disgusting factories and document it.

Sacramento, CA  |  April, 21, 2011 at 04:43 PM

What kind of ad did the owner of E6 put in the paper to get these kinds of employees? "Wanted at E6 Cattle Ranch-If you are a sick, heartless individual, willing to torture and mutilate the most defenseless of God's creatures, come work for me!" These people are nothing more than useless garbage and I hope they are arrested. A bonus would be that this hell-hole of a "ranch" is put out of business. Any boss that doesn't know what's going on under his nose is a moron (or a liar.)

Susan Trout    
Orangevale, CA  |  April, 21, 2011 at 07:05 PM

@Michele Payn-Knoper, while I appreciate the outrage of ethical, humane dairy farmers and others, efforts need to be stepped up to "prevent" these horrific cases of animal abuse. I would be frightened to be in the same room with men who display such callous disregard life. They should never be allowed to work around, or have animals, for the rest of their miserable lives. They are beyond cowardly. They are sociopathic nutcases.

Susan Trout    
Orangevale, CA  |  April, 21, 2011 at 07:16 PM

@Jessica, do you honestly believe the "video" would have seen the light of day if the undercover agents would have stepped in to stop it the bludgeoning? You have to be kidding! Of course what these people are forced to witness and capture on film is horrific (they no doubt have nightmares reliving it) but how else is the general public to know it goes on? Many agriculture groups (including dairy and beef ranchers) are aggressively supporting dangerous legislation in their own states that would criminalize (felony) undercover activities. Why do you think they would oppose having pictures taken at their facilities if they were all conducting business in a humane and ethical manner? Sometimes the things we have to do in life assault our senses to where it disturbs our inner peace. War is horrific but photographers and journalists MUST be permitted to capture the carnage to drive home the truth. Albert Schweitzer once said "Think occasionally of the suffering from which you spare yourself the sight." Well, that's what these videos do. They force us to think. We cannot, we must not tolerate such brutality and barbarism. These men should spend a minimum of 10 years in federal prison. They are heartless monsters.

Pennsylvania  |  April, 22, 2011 at 09:53 AM

This latest video was another lame attempt at those crazy liberal vegans to scare others into their lifestyle. If they didn't have an agenda then they would show both sides. I wonder how much time and money they wasted looking for that one bad apple they could use to try and make all of us look bad. Sad part is most people with a 1/4 of a brain can see right past this. Sure, I will agree this video is horrific to say the least. The message is even more horrific. Luckily social media goes both ways. For every scare tactic video there are 100s of other farm videos that speak the real truth. In the end it will be the vegans who discredit themselves. Gone are the days in modern society where the person milking a cow is perceived as a young attractive barefoot blonde in pigtails sitting on a stool milking a cow by hand.

US  |  April, 23, 2011 at 02:03 PM

these farms need to be regulated, there needs to be cameras on them at all times But hey, like Paul McCartney said, "if slaughterhouses had glass windows everyone would be a vegetarian" So everyone is going to pretend to care and then go on eating meat and dairy as usual

Michele Payn-Knoper    
Lebanon, IN  |  April, 26, 2011 at 01:31 PM

Susan, thanks for your comment. I'd agree that abuse cases needed to be prevented on farms. The challenge is how to make that happen. I know of farmers - large and small - with the proper paperwork to screen out activists and protocol on how to handle animals. These are farmers who do not believe in treating animals unfairly. Yet, they still ended up on the evening news. What ideas do you have to prevent this? And, just to look at both sides, let's consider the possibility that the people conducting these acts come on to the farm with the sole intent of capturing abuse, even when they have to commit the crime themselves. I understand the disgust. I understand the anger. But I also know we don't shut down schools when a teacher abuses a child. I can't quite justify painting the farmer with a broad brush stroke, even in anger and disgust. I know too many farmers who get up in the middle of the night to care for their cows, put their animals ahead of their families and work hard to be the counter opposite of what's depicted in these videos.

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