Mercy For Animals has released an undercover video in Wisconsin and they are tying it to Digiorno Pizza.

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December 10, 2013 by Carrie Mess

Wisconsin Dairy Farmer responds to Digiorno Slice of Cruelty Video from Mercy For Animals

This morning a video that Mercy For Animals (MFA) made on Wiese Brothers Dairy here in Wisconsin was released. The Mercy for Animals video is being tied to Digiorno Pizza because the farm shipped their milk to Foremost Farms which in turn sold that milk to a company that makes cheese that Digiorno Pizza buys for their pizzas.

I will not link to the video because I do not want to give Mercy for Animals any extra attention and I hope others refuse to share it as well. But I want to address what the video shows.

Yesterday I talked about how sometimes we have to be mean to our cows. This video shows people being mean to cows as I described. It also shows full on abuse. For added shock value it shows things that are not even related to abuse but look bad.

The video shows workers on the farm using the hip lift like a quarter claw game with the prize being a down cow. This is absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it abuse. I was shocked when I saw it, I didn’t even know that was possible!

The video shows cows being dragged out of freestalls. Without knowing exactly what is going on it’s hard to say that this is or is not abuse. Obviously, if the cow is unable to get up you can’t just let her lay in the stall and die. They show a cow being moved in the bucket of the skid loader and that’s something I would do on my farm if it were warranted.

The video shows workers yelling at the cows in spanish, Mercy for Animals provides subtitles. I am not fluent in Spanish but I don’t think their subtitles match exactly what the workers are yelling. Regardless of the words used, the yelling itself is not abuse. Cows don’t know English or Spanish for that matter.

The video shows cows with skinned up hocks. Our cows have some into the parlor with skinned up hocks. Does that mean I am an abuser? Or does it mean that a cow did something of her own free will that caused her to “fall down, go boom”?

The most ridiculous part of the video is when it shows a quick shot of a cow laying in a freestall, she has blood coming out of her vulva. Mercy for Animals wants you to tie this to abuse, they are relying on your lack of farm knowledge here in a major way. The cow that they are showing has just given birth. The blood they show is a completely normal part of nature. But they use it to turn people against dairy.

Cow in milking parlor on a Wisconsin dairy farm.

Again, I am not defending the abuse that is shown in this video. Wiese Brothers Dairy has fired two of their workers, as they should. Before this happened they had required all employees to sign contracts that outlined proper animal care. The employees ignored that and abused the cows anyways.

Digiorno Pizza owned by Nestle, has said that they will no longer accept cheese made from the milk from that farm. Of course they are the customer of a customer of the farm and had zero clue that any abuse was going on but Mercy for Animals likes to tie their videos to companies that people know for the added publicity.

The farm was shipping their milk to Foremost Farms. After the video came out Foremost Farms stopped accepting their milk. That’s a huge problem for that farm.

Wisconsin Dairy Farm Abuse Video from Mercy For Animals

There is no excuse for animal abuse and farmers absolutely have to step up to the plate and make sure it isn’t happening on their farms. The time to do this is now, not after the next video. Our country needs more harsh penalties for those who abuse animals and I want to see farmers be the ones who push for that.

The bottom line on these videos is that they are put out by people with and agenda who aren’t at all afraid to twist the truth into pure lies to push their agenda. Animal Rights organizations like Mercy For Animals profit off abuse. Every time a video like this comes out, the donations start to pour in. Animal abuse is a lucrative business for groups like Mercy For Animals. The donations don’t go on to help dogs or cats, the donations go to further their anti-meat and anti-dairy agenda.

Nobody should profit off of animal cruelty.

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85 thoughts on “Mercy For Animals has released an undercover video in Wisconsin and they are tying it to Digiorno Pizza.

  1. I, like you, found some of the video obviously taken out of context and ok. I also saw the postpartum cow. And, like you, I was completely shocked and appalled when I saw cows suspended by hip lifts and dragged by them. That is totally wrong.

    It is hard to explain to someone who has never been around dairy cows how much force is needed to get a down cow up. I like the way you described it yesterday–having to be mean for a greater good. However, there is a difference between necessary force that is ok and abuse. Some of the scenes in this video were horrifying.

    I am a dairy cattle veterinarian and I have never seen abuse on my farms. Abuse is not common or rampant on Wisconsin dairy farms. Some of the comments on your blog written by readers yesterday upset me quite a bit and I am sure they did you, too. The video today pissed me off. But now I am sad because I can only imagine the comments you and the rest of us involved with dairy cows will hear.

    I don’t care if you’re vegan, vegetarian, or whatever. I eat meat and dairy products. I like them. I also love the cows and clients I work with. We work really, really hard to raise healthy cows and calves to make high-quality meat and dairy products. We can care for our animals and ensure them humane treatment while they are alive and a humane death.

    The video is disgusting.

  2. brandibuzzard says:

    Thanks for sharing, Carrie! You hit some great points and it’s important to have perspective when looking at videos like this. Thanks for all you do for the agriculture industry.

  3. Agreed on all points! I also have seen a lot of people commenting that the owners must have known and even engaged in the abuse. While I don’t know, it’s certainly possible that they did not know at all. We all know employees who fail to follow the rules because the boss isn’t looking. Dairy farming is a 24-hour, seven days a week operation, so of course there will be times when the owners aren’t present. So let’s not go making assumptions about these people when we really have no idea.

  4. Vickie Taton says:

    Hi Carrie,
    Someone I know on FB posted a link to your blog and I read your blog post yesterday and shared it with my friends on FB. I think what you are doing here is so important – I hope that you will ignore the trolls and keep writing in your funny, truthful, insightful way – for the more information you can share, the more people will learn how to evaluate the shock videos distributed for all the wrong reasons. Abuse should not be tolerated, but to condemn the entire industry is just a nightmare gone even more wrong.

  5. bovidiva says:

    I utterly agree – there is no place in agriculture for animal abuse and also no place for emotive videos trying to portray an utterly natural process (a cow bleeding after giving birth, just as humans do) as animal abuse.

    One thing always troubles me with undercover videos – why do activists assume that it’s ok to film for days, weeks or months in an attempt to get sensational video footage of abuse (or non-abuse) activities, rather than reporting it the instant that it happens, just as we all should? Luckily I have never seen cattle abuse in any operation that I have been involved with, but if I did, I would have a zero-tolerance policy – why do the activists not do so? Seems utterly hypocritical.

  6. Thanks for sharing Carrie! It’s frustrating how the majority of farms are not abusive, yet one farm will tar us all.

    How can these activists stand by and document the abuse?! I, and most others wouldn’t last a day. Shows that animal welfare is not their true priority.

    • It IS EXTREMELY hard for activists to ‘stand by’, but I believe that the mind frame is looking at the big picture- with the document of multiple cases and events- these advocates can display the culture of abuse that takes place at some farming institutions. This will hopefully do MORE good than just reporting one incident.

    • 2013jjj says:

      Maybe you could listen to a few activists interviews to help understand their point of view, you may likely be surprised and have a change of perspective!

  7. Okay, I just watched the video from Mercy for Animals and there was a vast difference between what they were showing and your video yesterday. I’m actually surprised that you are so antagonistic to MfA, Compassion over Killing and PETA. Yes, they advocate for vegan living but their main targets are large scale operations. Just to let you know, yes, I am vegan. However, I hold no high hopes of a vegan world, just a better balanced one without large scale agriculture of most kinds (mostly because I think we are too focused on having things). By the way, PETA is not quite what most people think they are. They probably have killed more animals than you have.

    When it comes to down cows I wonder what farm sanctuaries do. I follow a few on facebook and haven’t seen any of them mention having to deal with that particular problem.

    Now, this isn’t to say that I agree completely with what you do for a living or how you do it but I figure there is nothing wrong with a discussion.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Why would you be surprised that I am against these organizations? They want me out of business just as much as a big farm.

      • Because you are actually quite far down on their list. Most vegans are concerned with factory farming, not small family farms. It’s going to be a lot of years before you’re their target. Unless of course you target them.

        • dairycarrie says:

          Sabrina, they are against the use of animals for meat or milk. That has nothing to do with farm size. Do you think only large dairy farms send their milk to the cheese company that DiGiorno uses? My neighbors milk 40 cows and their milk goes to the same plant. You think I should just wait until it’s my turn to be their target? That’s the most ridiculous thing I have heard today!

          • Backing up Carrie here, PETA does not care about size. In their eyes the only good farm animal (and actually pet dog or cat) is a dead animal. Go Vegan has the ultimate goal of the eradication of ALL domestic animals. Thinking they stand for anything else is what they hope you believe, and the joke is on you.

            • Oh, and I don’t disagree about PETA. They do a lot of stuff that I disagree with.

            • 2013jjj says:

              This is a bit of a misconception. In PETA’s ideal world I believe farmed animals would be extinct. There’s a big difference between a dead animal and an extinct species. And no..veganism doesn’t have the ultimate goal of eradication of all domestic animals-it has the ultimate goal of eradication of all animal exploitation. I can see how this can be confused though.

          • Sigh. I’m trying to encourage you to not wait until you’re the target (also to not speed up the process). Attacking those groups is not going to help you. Recognising the good they are doing may help you in the future though. And I’m well aware that small farms can be affected by this too.

            I suppose we wouldn’t even be having this conversation if you had just focused on the video content without flinging mud at the people who were able to provide proof.

        • jodi818 says:

          Sabrina,
          It’s that slippery slope thing. It’s not a matter of being far down the list. It’s a matter of even being on the list! I think you need to understand that 98% of all farms in this nation are family farms. So your terminology needs to be very specific. What do you consider a factory farm? 150 cows, 300? 700? Any size farm can be targeted by these idiots like Peta, MFA, and HSUS. They want all livestock farms to be done! That’s no question. So yes, any livestock farmer worth their salt needs to be against these organizations.

          As far as small farms vs large farms…. there’s a reason small farms are not as prevelant as they used to be. 1. IT’S REALLY HARD WORK! Farm kids didn’t want to stay on the farm because it is really hard work,. They saw a better life doing something other than farming. 2. Economies of scale. Large farms get better at doing what they do because they are large. There are price breaks for larger quantities of fertilizer, feeds, and other items that small farms can’t realize. 3. Urban encroachment and land prices are attractive enough for many to not farm anymore. 4. Families that do farm together (2 or 3 brothers farming together) need a larger land base to farm and make ends meet for the families. You can’t feed 3 families off of 150 cow dairy. Thus expansion happens. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

          How much are you willing to pay for your food? Large scale agriculture provides you with the cheap food you enjoy today. Did you notice the price of any grain based food increase last year? I bet you did since there was a drought that left most of the Corn/Soy belt in the dust.

          You might be asking what my qualifications are on the matter? I grew up on a 150 cow dairy farm. I helped with some aspect of the farm from the time I was old enough to just last year. My parents just retired last year and are no longer farming. I still milk every other weekend for another farmer just to get my hands dirty.

          • What’s wrong with them wanting all livestock farms to be gone? Not everyone wants the same thing.

            Yes, farming is really hard work. Not the hardest work but it is really hard. Bulk discounts? Never heard of those before. ;) You should see what the farmland is selling for near where I live. More mouths do take more money.

            Yes, the price of food has gone up. It’s reasonable for that to happen under certain circumstances. Just like those same prices can fall when there’s an excess of product on the market (however those decreases are much more controlled than they used to be which is a good thing). For goodness sake, I’m a gluten free vegan that eats way too much processed stuff, my food ain’t cheap. Anyone want to fix my genetics so that I can eat lots of gluten again?

            As for my qualifications? I don’t really have any. My dad left the farm because he didn’t want to do the work and my grandma sold it. Like I said, not many qualifications.

    • How blessed are we to live in an era that when you say “we are too focused on having things” you reference having too much and not too little. I suspect this concept would be harder to explain to my truck farming great grandfather than the internet!

    • 2013jjj says:

      I’ve worked a few years in farmed sanctuaries and we’ve yet to come across a downed cow in our care. All the cows we have are healthy enough that nothing causes them to do down…

  8. avatar12 says:

    I understand that you feel some of the video shows acceptable farm practices, but you admit that it also shows true abuse. If you are really as against animal abuse as you say you are, then I struggle to understand why you would have such a problem with people sharing this video. I would think you would be glad that it does in fact expose animal abuse and animal abusers… even if you find some of the scenes questionable.

    I do appreciate your efforts to clarify and inform people about the parts of the video you feel are misleading, but your efforts to convince people not to share it because of that strikes me as a strange reaction.

  9. You yourself acknowledge that the video documents abuse. This particular farm is going to suffer economic harm due to allowing it’s workers to abuse the cows. That provides an economic incentive for other farmers to make sure no one is caught abusing animals on their farms. If my donation helps Mercy for Animals to recruit more investigators then I will definitely making a donation.

    • dairycarrie says:

      In the mean time MFA will continue to encourage people to “ditch dairy” because of abuse on one farm.

      • I dairy farmed for 35 years and retired 20 years ago from dairying. I ditched buying dairy products 13 years ago after watching one man try to milk 4200 cows in a 22 unit parlor on a hot August afternoon on my neighboring megafarm. What I saw turned my stomach – more cow shit than milk was sucked up into the pipeline that afternoon. This megafarmer is considered on of the better ones in the State of Wisconsin. There needed to be a minimum of 3 people working that parlor in order to do a good job.

      • Why would you chastise MFA for speaking up for the animals. There has been hours upon hours of footage taped by MFA and other animal rights groups in the past years, so obviously it’s not just “one farm”. I agree that smaller farms are able to treat their animals better, and most of the smaller farms probably do not outright “abuse” their animals. Although I personally think raising animals for the sole purpose of feeding humans is inhumane….How long do the cows on your farm get to live before they are sent to slaughter because they no longer are able to do their “job” of producing an adequate amount of milk? And how long would they live if they were able to live out their lives naturally without having to take on these “jobs” that humans thrust upon them. I”m curious what you think should be done about the fact that people around the world are demanding so much meat/dairy that smaller family farms can’t produce enough products. There’s no way we can humanely raise, if you want to call it that, enough animals to keep up with our current eating trends. Which is why factory farms exist.The majority of people are buying their meat and dairy products from “factory farms” where even if animals are not physically abused(hit, kicked, stuck with prods, etc); they are confined to extremely small spaces and housed with hundreds or thousands of other animals. This way, then can produce more “products” with less space, time, and money. If people didn’t make meat/dairy the centerpiece of every meal, there wouldn’t be a need for factory farms. So MFA encouraging people to “ditch dairy” is not such a bad thing.

  10. Do you really think animals are only being abused on one farm? If that is true then investigators on other farms will not find anything. Where there is no wrongdoing there is no reason to fear scrutiny. Let us pay attention to the news and see if any more abuse is exposed on other farms.

    • dairycarrie says:

      No, I don’t think it’s just one farm but I do think it’s a small minority for which the rest of us have to pay.

      • If animal abuse on farms affects you in a negative way then putting pressure on other farmers to not abuse their animals is in your best interest. Without that undercover footage which was also given to the sheriff’s department those abusive farm hands would still have their jobs and the farmer who failed to supervise his workers adequately to prevent the abuse would not have been made an example of.

        You can use the fact that you treat your animals well to your advantage. Many people are willing to pay more for products from farms that treat their animals well.

        • I fully agree with this I worked on a farm where I saw almost every single form of abuse depicted. The abuse was brought directly to the owners attention by myself AND other workers NOTHING was done about it the employee in question (who happened to be a herdsman) did not lose his job and he continued to treat the cows in the same way.

        • The face of the matter is that a *few* people are willing to pay more (almost what it costs us to produce it) for better practices, but most are not. I have direct experience with it, among other things raising pastured, free range pork. Everybody LOVED my piggies with their babies all out running about in the fields. When it came time to PAY for the pork the reply I got was “But I can get pork at Wal-Mart for $1.99 a pound – you need to sell it to me for that or just keep it.” We ate 1200 pounds of pork that year, sold 30 pounds. Yes, I know, three of you will jump up and say “I do it.” I know you do, and thank you. Most will not.

          Remember the fiscal cliff? Remember the farm bill almost reverting to the 1949 standards that prices milk by actual cost to produce – It was going to have to go up to $6 a gallon. The public comment contained tens of thousands of “I’ll never pay that for milk! Those farmers should remember their place!” Um, let your real opinion hang out there folks. Long story short, our small pasture-raised dairy farm went under that spring, we could not afford to keep paying in the multiples of 10K out-of-pocket to bring you low-bacterial, high-butterfat, no hormone or antibiotic milk on full pasture all the time milk. Factory farms exist because people say a lot with their mouths, but vote in secret with their wallets at the grocery store, and the message is very, very, clear.

          • Axel Kröner says:

            Thank you Julie for your honest accord of what prices have to be if you do an honest job. I am sorry it didn’t work out. Too many people get deceived by the marketing lies that you can have humanely produced/slaughtered dairy products and meat and still pay the lowest price.

          • 2013jjj says:

            Julie brings up an excellent point. All the more reason undercover videos should bring to light what the public is paying for….

  11. You can bash MFA all you want, but the truth is, the abuse happened! I’ve been to dairy farms, & have yet to see cows with skinned up legs, laying bleeding in stalls. As for the yelling, you are correct, they don’t understand English or Spanish, but they do understand “tone” as do horses & other animals. There needs to be more investigation & more protection of these defenseless animals. And it sounds to me, as if they may need to check your place out as well. You are way too ready to “excuse” the abusive behavior, & I’m sorry, but a good owner &/or manager would be well aware of the practices on his property. If he can’t manage that, he doesn’t need to be in any business concerning animals & their welfare.

    • dairycarrie says:

      I think you’re missing the parts where I condemned the abuse. Go back and read it again.

    • Charlotte, I have yet to see a dairy farmer that is able to immediately stop post-parturition bleeding…I have also yet to see Carrie making excuses for the abuse that did occur..

    • Jenny Craig says:

      “There is no excuse for animal abuse and farmers absolutely have to step up to the plate and make sure it isn’t happening on their farms.” That doesn’t seem to me that she is trying to “excuse” anything, Charlotte.
      Many dairy farms operate 24/7, an owner/manager can’t possibly be there that whole time. They rely on their employees to do the right thing, and as with any industry or business you do get a few bad apples that don’t follow the rules. It doesn’t mean that the owners/managers are ALLOWING it to happen, that would mean they have that knowledge and accept it. I have worked on multiple dairies and even hog farms for 15 years and now visit many dairies on a weekly basis. The owners want and expect things to be done right and proper animal care, because it’s a business and they know that healthy happy cows pay the bills. “If you take care of her, she will take care of you.” It’s hard to find employees who “get it” and that aren’t just showing up for a paycheck and that is in any industry and it doesn’t matter the size of the business either. Seems that there aren’t a whole lot of people these days that have a good work ethic or take pride in their work. Most owners/managers would take care of the problem immediately if it’s brought to their attention. What bothers me, is that MFA tries to twist normal everyday things to make it look like abuse. Bleeding vulva for example, we bleed after having a baby too, it’s nature. Scuffed up hocks can be from the way she lays in the freestall or bumped into something. They have also been known to “investigate” for days, weeks or months watching all this take place and refusing to make the owner aware so that they can make it stop. So to me, they are just as guilty as an abuser…maybe worse because they know it’s wrong and yet are trying to get more footage for their agenda, which doesn’t appear to be animal welfare. If it were, they wouldn’t wait it out to see how much they can catch for shock value. If I see something that I know isn’t right, I say something. People can’t fix what they don’t know about.

  12. I worked on a dairy farm for years and while I agree some of the video content may not be abuse, we can all agree that there is footage that is no doubt horrific abuse. Your blog seems to be more about the group that put the video out then about the farm or the abuse itself. Let’s not get off subject here!
    Let me ask you this…would you rather the video not be put out at all? Remember, it DOES show abuse to defenseless animals. The fact that the owners of this farm claim that they care for their animals makes is outrageous. How in the world would a single person of authority(or cared for that matter) have NEVER seen any of this? I think this goes a lot deeper then just a couple of workers. I totally sympathize with your position and would rather some of these groups not fabricate lies to prove their point…but again, they have exposed abuse here that would still be happening tomorrow and the next day had the video not come out.
    The morale of the story? Support your small family farmer as much as you can! Farms of this size have such a disconnect from their cattle because they aren’t doing all the work, rather countless employees are that have no personal connection to the livestock. The farm I worked at would have never done this because anyone with half a brain knows a happy, healthy and stress-free cow gives more milk, which equals more $.
    Farms like this need to be put out of business and the land and cattle should go back to small farmers who are stewards of the land…not trying to squeeze every last dollar out of it.

    • dairycarrie says:

      I tried to post something that covered both my disdain for MFA as well as my anger at the abuse. If that came across any differently than I intended please know that’s not what I meant.

      I wish that instead of taking the time to create a slick website and campaign MFA would have simply turned the video over to the authorities and not used it to throw the rest of the dairy farmers out there under the bus.
      Ultimately the authorities are the ones who will decide the punishment for this video not the court of public opinion. Other than lining their coffers what good did creating the campaign do?

      • For me, the reason your blog came across that way is because 80% of it(as well as your reply to me) is about this group and not about the abuse shown. I guess it’s a case of what the story shows us and we all take something different away from it. The reason they release videos in this matter is the same reason everyone goes to the media…it gets far more attention then simply releasing it the authorities. Right or wrong, the more folks that see it, the better in their eyes. : )

  13. Angela – I agree – I don’t care what people eat – just as you say give them human treatment and death. I too don’t understand how someone can watch for weeks on end and not react. And even though I am glad the abuse has come to light I agree with Carrie wholeheartedly when I see the whole thing hijacked by vegan/vegetarian movements. I thought that the farmer who was quoted a couple of weeks ago after the abuse exposed at the calf fattening farm said it all – she actually has CCTV installed everywhere – she said that her and neighboring farms were horrified and disgusted – again the bad apples make the rest of farming suffer, people only want ot hear the horror stories.

  14. Andrea Howe says:

    I have not watched the video despite it being sent to me by a few friends, and I don’t plan to watch it. I also don’t plan on ever sending a dime to Mercy For Animals or any other animal rights activist groups. Nor will I ever give up animal products based off these sad videos and books I have read. Giving up meat and dairy isn’t the humane thing to do, rather, supporting small scale farms who do right by their animals and land, is what I consider the decent thing to do. The farm they filmed at owns 4,500 cows. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that would be considered pretty large-scale farming, would it not? While I’m sure some on here would disagree, bigger doesn’t always mean better. Just like bigger government often leads to more cases of abuse, I could only imagine bigger farms are more apt to have more problems like this. I’m not saying abuse doesn’t happen on small farms, but the larger the farm, the more detached the workers are, and the harder it would be for the owners to manage such cases of abuse. I’m also not saying the owners, or even those in charge knew this was happening, but I can’t imagine on that large of a scale, an owner can intimately know all the ins-and-outs of what’s going on 24/7. I’m not sure what the answer is here, and I certainly don’t like propaganda being flung at me. But the bottom line is, abuse, whether it’s the exception rather than the rule, still happens, and I don’t want to support the farms or companies who allow this kind of abuse to happen. Only way to function like that though is to know your farmer! I buy both organic and non-organic milk from 2 local farms that sell directly to their customers here in Southern California – Rockview and Broguieres. When I can’t get their milk, I buy from small farms up north like Clover and Strauss. All this to say, these videos just make me even more committed to supporting small scale farmers.

  15. I’ve personally been to this farm and on a tour with my college (with the owner as our guide) he didnt let a single thing bad slide while we were there. I did just watch the video, some of the clips I couldn’t even tell you for surely came from his facility. Also, it showed the hocks being so bad, well when I toured, I didnt see a single bad hock, with how they made it seem every cow had sore hocks. It’s funny though, I know horses in 3+ inches of shavings in a stall who have worse hocks then those pictured…

  16. patirolf says:

    Your joking, separate the folks that turned them in from the folks that are the abusers. What they did is wrong, period. No excuses. Whoever caught them is not on trial, the abusers are. What is happening here is horrible. My family raised beef cattle, my husband the same. No excuse for animal cruelty. That is why I buy my meat from farmers I trust, I try to buy my meat from animal friendly farms. At least they live a happy life until their heads are cut off. I hate unhappy meat, hate it. This isn’t about vegans this is about whats right. Bulling is unacceptable to all life.

  17. Without these videos, that you admit yourself do show abuse, how can attention be paid to the abuse that DOES happen? While it might not be standard industry-wide practice, there are too many of these videos at this point that do show actual abuse to be ignored. The farmers that are against abuse perhaps need to step up and take a more active role at making sure there are more stringent protections for livestock instead of attacking the groups that are doing the documenting.

  18. kidznhorses says:

    Question. If you have to shower, change and be taken by a tour guide to visit a large farm like this, who did the video? Possibly another worker? Do you suspect it could be a vendetta against the workers? Aren’t most of the workers on these large dairy farms Mexicans (legal?)? Would that make any difference?
    It’s good that these videos make it out to the general public. I don’t think it’s fair to run this dairy out of the business, but as a business, these big dairys are going to have to get a handle on their workers on a scale that is equivalent to other businesses. Isn’t part of the issue the low pay of these jobs? Gone are the days when local kids worked at farms.
    Your thoughts ?
    PS. Very excited to find this blog.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Most large dairy farms don’t require a shower in, shower out requirements. That’s more for hog facilities. The video was recorded by a new worker on the farm that was working for Mercy For Animals.
      And our p/t milkers are pretty much all “local kids”. When our farm did have a full time worker (before we joined the farm) it was generally a 18-23 year old “local kid”. It was always hard to find a good one. We paid fairly well but it’s hard work and a lot of hours.

      • So do you think the local kids are the ones who should be taught how to be whistle blowers if they see something wrong happening?

        • dairycarrie says:

          I think anyone should report abuse when they see it. It needs to be stopped immediately, no wait around to get more footage.

          • If the investigator had blown his cover after one incident it could have been written off as a single isolated incident. If there was a culture of abusing animals at that farm and others like it then it was important to document multiple incidents of abuse. Public outrage caused DiGiorno to drop that farmer which caused economic consequences for him and fear of economic consequences for other farmers if abuse is found on their farms. Public outrage turned out to be a useful tool to bring about change. I don’t think reporting a single incident would have had the same effect. Do you think a deputy would have even made an arrest based on a single report without catching the guilty party in the act?

            • dairycarrie says:

              Why do you think that it’s ok to send in a private citizen that is part of an animal rights organization to do “investigating”?

              If they had gone to the police, the real investigators could have looked into it more.

              How long do you think an AR investigator should allow abuse to continue before reporting it? A few day? Weeks? Months? How many cows should have to suffer abuse before someone who can actually do something to stop it should be alerted?

              DiGiorno dropped the farm before the video was released. The public outrage came after they were dropped. MFA, still tied it to them despite that fact. So a brand is being drug through the mud for doing the right thing. How is that ok? How does that help animals?

              • I doubt the sheriff’s office would have been able to put an undercover investigator on the farm full time. Hence the need to for a private individual to step up. I frankly don’t care who exposes the abuse as long as it is exposed. I actually tried reporting abuse and improper care of animals to management multiple times when I worked for a lab animal breeder. Every single time I got the same boilerplate speech with minor variations in wording about how their animals receive excellent care and abuse is not tolerated. No doubt I could have accomplished more with a hidden camera. The way the incidents at Wiese Dairy Farm were handled resulted in national media attention, changes in supervision practices at that farm, and pressure for other farmers to clean up their act. That is going to do a lot more good for a lot more animals than possibly getting a single worker fired only to be replaced with another worker just like him. I doubt handling the matter internally would have worked. A cow is a big animal. A skid loader is a big machine. Was it really possible for someone lifting a cow completely off the ground by the hips to go unnoticed? I could not possibly trust someone who failed to catch and stop such behavior to do anything worthwhile with my report of abusive actions by a co-worker, nor would I trust a deputy who did not catch the person in the act to make an arrest. You may disagree with the investigator’s methods but the end result is more much needed scrutiny of animal handling practices in the dairy industry.

            • dairycarrie says:

              And to clarify. DiGiorno was not a customer of that farmer they were a customer of the cheese maker that bought the milk from that farmer’s coop. The coop has also dropped that farmer.
              How was DiGiorno responsible for what happened on that farm? Are they supposed to send out inspectors to every single farm that ships to a company they buy cheese from? And if they did do you think those inspectors would have discovered what was shown in the video?

              • Big players in the food industry audit their vendors for various reasons all the time, usually for matters related to good manufacturing practice. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for DiGiorno to ask its cheese vendors to audit the farmers who supply their milk for animal handling practices.

                • dairycarrie says:

                  Yes. And they could send someone to the farm and the farm workers would be actively abusing the cows while the inspector was there? Not likely.

                  • That is correct and that proves the need for undercover investigators. However, they could require farms to implement policies requiring a supervisor to be present when a downed cow is moved, requiring training in proper animal handling for personnel who work with animals, and requiring instructions in English and Spanish on how to recognize and report abuse to be posted in the facility.

                    • dairycarrie says:

                      I think farms should adopt the policies you list. In the case of Wiese Brothers they had their employees sign contracts detailing animal care. I don’t know their exact training protocol but most large farms do training and our dairy organizations like PDPW offer training in both Spanish and English.

                    • I am so happy that a friend sent me a link to your website about this situation. I have made the mistake a couple years ago watching a couple of PETA videos that literally sent me to my bedroom crying my eyes out and sickened for days with the images I saw. Needless to say as much as I am against abuse of any way, shape or form of any animal. I do not suport PETA ( they are completely crazy!). I never understood what these AR places wanted donations for. Just didnt make sense to me.
                      I have learned alot the past 2 years and know that the media can be decieving on all aspects, but some things you see – you know is downright, disgusting and uncalled for animal abuse!!!
                      If I was under cover there is no way I could stand watching this abuse go on for minutes or hours, days, weeks, etc….
                      I would take the chance of spending a night in jail by seriously treating these abusers the same way.
                      I dont know how anyone could stand by and not be mentally affected.
                      Thank you Carrie for educating us on what is normal as opposed to abuse.
                      Animal abuse just seems to be all we read about anymore ( thanks to social media in our faces 24/7)and is so disheartening, so of course there is going to be all tis public outrage.
                      What about the factory pig farms, chicken and turkey farms? I dont want to be a vegetarian or vegan. I just want to know the the meat I am eating did not suffer horrible abuse. :(

                  • Axel Kröner says:

                    Dairycarrie, you just gave the reason, why undercover investigations are in fact the ONLY realistic way to expose animal abuse.
                    Follow through and support groups doing it and you’ll have taken a big step towards credibility in fighting animal abuse.

  19. fieldguy says:

    Thank you Carrie for lending perspective and humanity to a debate that is increasingly framed by the animal rights organizations. I’m a bird dog & horse guy – our outdoor sports face many of the same pressures from the AR industry. As an industry the AR groups make great money by finding and dramatizing abuse, often withholding that information while animals continue to suffer, the better to serve their fundraising efforts. Thank you, Carrie, for a breath of fresh air. And may we all have balanced veterinarians like Angela King!

    • Axel Kröner says:

      fieldguy, it seems you are getting few things mixed up.

      Animal rights groups are not an industry. They are millions of people, but very little money.

      Take for example Peta. They got 2 million fans on their US facebook site, 200 tsd on their German site, another 200 tsd on the hispanic site, … but they only got a budget of 30 million $ . Ingrid Newkirk, Peta’s president, rakes in a “staggering” salary of 35,604 $. Is that what you call “great money”?

      You want to compare that turnover to the dairy farm industry and the respective CEO-salaries?
      Do any of you really believe Ingrid Newkirk is in it for the money? Really?

      • Cairenn Day says:

        She is in it to KILL animals. That is the problem with many of the so called ‘animal rights’ groups. They are more concerned about pushing their agendas, than they are about stopping the abuse when it happens.

        That seems to be DairyCarrie’s point here.

        • Axel Kröner says:

          Cairenn Day,

          let’s go to the facts: Peta and Ingrid Newkirk offer to the residents of Norfolk/Virginia (where Peta’s headquarter is) the service to put those pets to sleep that need it due to old age, sickness or accident. They offer this service for free, so that even the pets of those owners who can’t afford the veterinarian don’t have to suffer. They spend money to have trained personell in place 24/7. Om average they put less than 8 animals a day to sleep. Animals ranging from a mouse to a horse. They encourage the owners to stay by their pet’s side during the procedure.

          You call that “She is in it to KILL animals”, Cairenn? Really?

          And you defame Peta while applauding people who slaughter animals for a living?

          Did you check your priorities lately?

  20. First of all Carrie, let me apologize for opening a can of worms with my post yesterday. It was not meant to inflame or cause harsh words towards you or your farm in any way. A point that I would like to see addressed now is what can we as consumers, farmers, etc. do to bring about more stringent animal abuse laws? I understand that the workers on the video were fired, but why are they not being prosecuted with the possibility of a very lengthy prison sentence? If any of your informed readers have suggestions, I would love to hear them.

  21. I’m not sure how it is done across the rest of the country, but in Tennessee, there is a protocol for reporting and investigating animal abuse that truly does have teeth and is done professionally. If someone calls the Sheriff’s department or the local ASPCA or other animal group, then the local County Agricultural Extension Agent gets involved. His/Her role is to go to the farm in question to determine if abuse is really happening. And no, he may not see the day that a cow is lifting up like that video, but there will be other evidence of abuse. This was started down here due to the large number of horses & a droughty year. A lot of ‘skinny’ horses were being seen from the road and people were being investigated for animal abuse, when in reality they had “Normal” horses not “overweight” horses. These types of investigations do work b/c they are being conducted by people that know the difference between postpartum discharge and abuse.

    The video is disgusting for several reasons. First and foremost b/c of the true abuse that happened. But also b/c the people responsible for this 1) were videoing instead of running over there yelling ‘STOP!’ and 2) they are trying to portray EVERY thing as abuse.

    1) I will not stand for animal abuse in my presence. I do not care what I have to do to stop it. I have gotten physical with people to stop abuse or what started as proper handling that has escalated due to the circumstances at hand and people are getting frustrated and mad. I am not a large woman. But I am ballsy enough to do what is right, no matter what, no matter where. And if these people are ballsy enough to be an undercover investigator, seems to me they’d have a pair big enough to stop it.

    2) If these groups were truly in the business or wanting to stop animal abuse, then they wouldn’t also focus on things that are NOT animal abuse. They do not seem to have the ‘animals’ interest at heart. They do seem to have headlines and sensationalism at heart. You don’t have to show post-partum bleeding as abuse!? Wasn’t the actual abuse enough? Or was the point to drag this farm, punish this farm, punish their milk buyers and cheese makers and pizza makers as much as possible? Or was the point to “shock and awe” the general public that sees “OH MY GOSH THAT COW IS BLEEDING OUT OF HER VAGINA WHAT ARE THEY DOING THERE!!!??”

    I am so glad you have this blog. I can only imagine your frustration and sympathize with you because you and what you love is being ‘attacked’. I commend you and admire you. And I thank you.

  22. As a herd manager I care for the comfort and health of dairy cattle and I couldn’t agree better with Carrie’s points. People should not be allowed to abuse animals and should pay the punishment for doing so. Its important to remember in clips like these that Mercy for Animals is playing off of emotions without providing any background whatsoever letting the real truth go unknown to the viewer.

  23. 2013jjj says:

    Everytime a video is released, everyone within the industry says it is an isolated incident. Then why does every undercover investigation find abusive practices if they are isolated incidences? I’m glad that you made a post explaining this video-but I strongly feel your making the bad guys out to be the wrong people.

    So true, Carrie-no one should profit on abuse. But with all do respect-who is abusing the animals here? The undercover investigators who would ultimately like to get the animals out of the farms, or the employees of the industry?

    True, MFA likely gets increased donations with video releases. But this is far from a lucrative profit- they’re a 501c3, you can go to guidestar and see their taxes and profits yourself. They barely make enough to sustain themselves. And they have no ulterior motive. They seem to be very clear that they are opposed to the industry and promote a vegan lifestyle.

    • Axel Kröner says:

      I agree 100%.
      The abusers are the ones to tackle, not the ones who document it.

      Especially since the undercover activists don’t act any differently than undercover agents in the field of narcotics, trafficking, white collar crime, …
      They stand by for weeks, months, sometimes years, they sometimes even have to participate in crimes to make an airtight case.

      When it’s right for the undercover DEA agents, then it’s right for the documentation of animal abuse as well.

  24. Joanna says:

    Carrie – You’ve taken some flack from commenters about being more upset with the messenger than with the abuser with respect to this video here. I get it. We have a dairy farm in Northern Vermont and I am just as angry about the bystanders recording the video as I am the abuser. In my opinion, both should be persecuted. No animal should suffer like that, EVER, as you describe.

    Perhaps to the naysayers, it would be clearer if we were to substitute the species suffering the abuse in the undercover videos to humans. If someone were to shoot undercover video of persons or children being abused for weeks, months – they would be considered monsters too.

    If PR is really what MFA and other groups are after with respect to ending animal abuse, I would think they could figure out a better way to do it than letting animals suffer while they promote their agenda.

    • Axel Kröner says:

      Joanna, are you angry about the undercover DEA agents who participate in drug dealing, too? Are you angry about the undercover FBI agents taking part in human trafficking, standing by when girls and boys are raped? Are you angry about all those too? When was the last time you vented that anger on a public forum?

      Do you tell the DEA and the FBI to blow their cover immediately when the first offenses happen? No, you don’t!
      It’s the exact same thing with undercover work in animal abuse cases. Just because it affects your industry doesn’t make it any different.

      By the way, are you sure you want to tell animal rights activists, who are more likely than not vegans/vegetarians, that they should feel more compassion towards animals to bring across your point of view? As a dairy farmer?

      • Joanna says:

        Alex, thanks for the reply. Of course I’m angry at all those things you mention. I do not, however, equate undercover animal rights activists with FBI or DEA agents. I do not equate dairy farming with drug or human trafficking. I believe animal abuse should be stopped if and when discovered.

        • Axel Kröner says:

          I equate human trafficking to animal abuse, not normal dairy farming.

          If (I know, big if) you are serious about animal abuse having to stop, you have to grant those undercover activists the same ways to go about it in order to be effective as in all other areas where crimes happen.
          Unless of course, animal abuse is not as important to you as you claim.

          Those animal abusers would still have a job and continue to abuse animals, were it not for the undercover activists. No dairy farmer turned them in, an undercover activist did.

          When was the last time an animal abuser was brought to justice because of a dairy farmer handing over the evidence? Please help jogg my memory. I can’t remember even one lone case.

          Is it possible that the dairy industry focuses too much on smear campaigning against the messenger and pays only lip service to handing animal abusers over to justice?

        • 2013jjj says:

          The point of these activists’ work is to bring to the public’s attention the inherent wide-scale abuse that is occurring in farms across the country-in order to change *policy* and social dietary habits- so that immeasurably more animals will be helped.

          The point of their work is not to do the job of the manager- and slap the hands of abusive employees.

          Anyway, who would listen to the new guy saying stop?? Likely he would just be ignored.

          There are even undercover videos of activists speaking his concern to the manager…and the manager saying the behavior is acceptable! So, unfortunately in reality..telling someone to stop isn’t always going to work..

    • 2013jjj says:

      It seems evident that the employees don’t care about stopping-there are welfare measures in place, they just aren’t being followed. Would a seasoned employee, who is behaving as he usually behaves really listen to the new guy when he says stop? I doubt it. Even if he did stop, likely he’d just start again when the new guy wasn’t around. Now that there is video evidence, the abuse has stopped completely, and the public can know what happens behind these closed doors, and employers know the welfare measures simply aren’t working….

    • If no one took video to show to our country, who would know that it goes on? Nobody! Hitler killed thousands of people right in front of the German people and nobody stopped him. I eat meat and dairy. I just want the animals to be humanely treated. Give the pigs a bigger crate for heavens sakes. I believe in our freedom to share some of the horrors on BIG corporate farms as they are the biggest problem.

  25. milll01 says:

    Carrie–I have a completely stupid “city girl” question. What’s the difference between a down cow and a sleeping cow? Wouldn’t the same things happen when they lay down to sleep?

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