A fourth dairy farm in Florida has been accused of animal abuse after an animal rights group released an undercover video.
Animal Recovery Mission, a Miami-based animal rights group, alleges the abuse happened at Davie Dairy near Okeechobee in July and September. The group also says the alleged abuse happened prior to Hurricane Irma.
“One of the biggest concerns that was witnessed by ARM’s undercover operative, was the clear lack of treatment provided to newborn and juvenile calves, who are seen as a mere by-product,” a news release from Animal Recovery Mission states.
Some of the footage shows loading and unloading of calves and heifers into trailers that does not adhere to low stress animal handling principals. At times calves are pulled around and lifted by their ears. Heifers are overcrowded into a stock trailer with a few heifers being pushed to the trailer floor.
Dead cattle can be seen in several shots from the video with much of it likely do to record heat when the videos were recorded.
Southeast Milk, Inc., the cooperative for all the farms involved, has been implementing training programs to address the animal handling issues.
The four farms have been placed on probation by National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) for possibly violating Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program policy.
“It is our understanding that the video footage obtained by ARM on Davie Dairy, as with the other farms, was taken during the late summer or before. Though we did not learn of these allegations until recently, we have acted swiftly and decisively since that time, working with our member farms to take all corrective actions suggested by third-party auditors and have fully cooperated with national and local law enforcement,” says Jim Sleper, CEO of Southeast Milk.
Animal Recovery Mission has said the video from Davie Dairy is the last in its investigation's series on Florida dairy farms.
“With these four investigations, ARM has produced concrete evidence that the forms of abuse, that are detailed in its reports, are not random acts but a daily ongoings which are clearly being adopted as normal and acceptable by employees, supervisors and the dairy farm owners alike,” Animal Recovery Mission says.
The animal rights group hopes to change animal welfare policies and how it is monitored. They also encourage people to go vegan as a solution at the end of each video.
Following the other videos, the state’s largest grocer, Publix, announced it would no longer accept milk from those dairies.
For seven tips on how to protect yourself and your farm from an undercover video read the following story from our fiends at Farm Journal's MILK: