The Los Angeles-based animal rights group, Mercy For Animals, released an undercover video yesterday that alleges cow abuse on a Wisconsin farm.
Mercy For Animals spokesman Nick Cooney spoke about the video to TMJ4 in Milwaukee.
“Video footage secretly recorded by a Mercy For Animals investigator has documented horrific cruelty to animals.”
The video reportedly shows a Birnamwood, Wisconsin farm worker cutting off a cow’s tail with a pruning shears – a practice called ‘tail docking’ that was once commonplace on farms across the country but is now considered outdated. A worker at the farm also violently swings and hits a cow with a rod, a tool that is designed to steer livestock with a tap. More workers kick and punch cows, while still others drag a cow across a barn with a four-wheeler.
Mercy For Animals sent an undercover investigator to work the farm in Birnamwood, Wisconsin between July 19 and August 22. After the investigation concluded, Mercy For Animals gave the video to authorities in Shawano County, Wisconsin. After reviewing the footage, the Shawano County District Attorney, Gregory A. Parker, said that nothing in the video warrants criminal charges.
The dairy farm in Birnamwood, Wisconsin has been part of the Andrus family for more than three generations. When the family saw the video footage, they released a statement.
“We were shocked to see some of our employees not following appropriate animal handling practices on our farm. No one in our family was aware of such conduct occurring on our farm. We were equally shocked to learn that one of our former employees stood by and collected this video footage without notifying us and without interceding to protect our animals. We don’t condone this kind of behavior and have immediately begun to work with our farm veterinarians and dairy industry resources to access and implement training and enforcement mechanisms to address proper animal handling with our workforce. We will require all employees sign an animal care commitment and immediately report inappropriate behavior to us and we will increase our presence in areas where our employees are handling animals. We believe these steps will help ensure these behaviors will not be repeated on our farm.”
The Andrus family weren’t the only ones to see the video according to USA Today. The Great Lakes Cheese company, based in Ohio, saw the footage and a representative said that leaders of the company were outraged. Great Lakes Cheese will no longer buy cheese that’s made from milk from the cows at the Birnamwood, Wisconsin farm.
Nick Cooney said that this undercover operation wasn’t the only one that Mercy For Animals launched this summer.
“This is not an isolated incident. This is representative of the kinds of treatment of animals at dairy farms across the country.”
What do you think? Is the treatment of the animals in the video a criminal offense? Should it be? Sound off in the comments below.
[Images via YouTube]