Thursday, May 27, 2010

Animal Abuse is NOT Acceptable!

Today we watch as another attack on the dairy industry was unleashed.  A video with some disgusting animal abuse was released, and portrayed as "an industry standard".  I can confidently say that this is NOT the case!  Dairy farmers care for their cows, whether an organic farmer or a conventional farmer, a small farm or a large farm....dairy cows need to be cared for and LOVED!  Yes, I said loved.  We love our cows, we care for them everyday and we often put their needs before our own.  Watching this video was heart wrenching! I encourage you to NOT watch it, its not for the weak of stomach.  For the news I read tonight the employee in question has been fired and facing 12 counts of animal abuse charges, other employees are being investigated and the dairy farmer in question is working diligently to revamp an apparent lapse in management.  Looks to me that they are taking the right steps, its just a shame that it happened in the first place. 

Jonathan and I discussed tonight what we would do if we discovered an employee (even though we currently do not have one) abusing our cows.  I name our cows, to give them a personality, and I believe that also makes it harder for someone to hit them.  Jonathan uses numbers instead of names, but he also respects and loves our cows.  If we were to see an employee abuse a cow, we would fire them instantly, and then call every dairy farm in our county to make sure that they never work with cows ever again!  It's abosultely unacceptalbe, and we know that our neighbors and fellow dairy farmers would stand with us.  Please check out the video below, which I filmed tonight while I was pushing up feed and bringing in the cows to the parlor.  I was fired up and decided that I needed to show that our cows are loved and respected everyday.  They need to stay calm and know that they can trust us.  So check it out!

13 comments:

  1. Do you really think that video is real? I mean - I know they are mistreating the animals and I don't want to admit what I or any of our guys on our farm would like to do the people, but for real? This couldn't have been happening for very long without the owner knowing it. I didn't watch the video, but the guys said the idiot doing the beating was looking directly into the camera. This whole thing sounds like a set up. I, as a dairy owner would certainly see signs of abuse. Also, what owner would treat his "income" that way? It is just too fishy for me.
    We are like the majority of dairy owners. We take good care of what God gave us. They get what they need before we do. I can't remember the last vacation we took, but a year ago the BEBs (bowned eyed bossies) got new mattresses. This whole thing is disgusting. Thanks for shining the light on the true way most of us dairy people treat our animals.

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  2. I do question if it is real, mainly from the issues of video quality (that camera was too stable) and the fact that the "worker" in question had a clean shirt & pants on...what dairy worker is clean??? I think it is possible this was staged or a couple of idiots taking film for shock factor...like teenagers.

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  3. This video made me so happy!

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  4. Anonymous: Glad to hear it! Help us spread the message that dairy farmers are great caretakers of their animals and land! Happy June Dairy Month!

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  5. So glad you have this blog up. I know it takes time but you are appreciated.
    I too feel that the videographer is criminal in this instance and hope that his 20 hours of tape taken over two days 31/2 weeks apart and then put on youtube calls for scrunity. The worker knew about the camera and I believe he was encourage to exhibit more cruelty. The abuser and the enabler were criminal.

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  6. Your video is a nice peaceful reply. Thanks

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  7. Mary: Thanks for your comments. I like to show that our cows are not afraid of us, because we don't beat them...good cow care starts with trust, our animals need to trust us. Violence like in that video, violates that trust.

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  8. Dear Orange Patch...."loved", "respected", what do you mean? I love, respect and care for my children, my parents, my pets and friends and so I do not slaughter them. I have no problem with dairy or drinking milk from a cow that is respected, loved and cared for. But if you are cutting their throat for money, separating calves from their mothers, allowing males to become veal crated or killed, etc. then I'm sorry but I do not want your dairy. I do not think your're like the very sick man in the Conklin video and nor would you go out of your way to be abusive, in fact you sound like a very nice person, but isn't it true these 99.9999% of all dairy cows are exploited for their milk and then sold off to an unwilling, fearful death, or are you telling me your cows have a good home and die peacefully in their pasture? I would be surprised if your standards meet my definition of caring. You seem to equate being non-abusive and maintaining profit to be the same as loving care. Please correct me if I'm wrong because as for me and mine that would be a very sad and low standard. I hope you and other dairy farmers will raise the standard much higher. Sincerely, Gary W. and family

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  9. Gary W. : I believe that our standards as dairy farmers are very high, they have to be. We care, love and respect our cows...ultimately we hope that they can pass away peacefully in pasture (or in our case, a barn). In fact our oldest cows are already 10-12 years old (much older than what they would be in nature). Most of our cows that leave our herd, pass away, but some are sold for slaughter, we unfortunately cannot afford to feed them if they cannot pay for their feed, the milk price does not allows us to do so.

    I remind you that cows are animals, and that we do eat animals. We provide them adequate care while they are with us and hope that they can stay with us until natural death. 100% of all cows are cared for and NOT exploited for milk. Dairy cows naturally produce more milk than what their calves can consume. I assure you we do not exploit our cows. Our calves are also cared for, and I encourage you to read some of my other posts about calf care to learn more. Thanks for your concerns, but I believe if you really got to know a dairy farmer better you may understand that we do not exploit our cows.

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  10. Hello Orange Patch - I have to agree with Gary - The idea of destroying a life because it's not "useful" any more does run contrary to what I know "love" to be...
    I'm curious though... You say that cows make much more milk than what their calves could drink - Exactly how much of their mother's milk do your calves enjoy? Do they nurse for a 6-8 months and wean naturally? Or do you grow the calves on a milk replacer soon after birth? I only ask this because I think it's very strange that more calves are being fed by humans today than not... Yet the "production" end of dairy has increased 10+ times more. Seems like "your" cows are doing such a great job fulfilling their end of the bargain... Would it really hurt so much to let them and their babies experience the biological imperatives that is fulfillment of their existence? Just wondering...

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  11. Bea:
    I will offer you a different approach to the "life" issue. In nature a herd of deer exists. This herd of deer has older deer and younger deer, but as we all know the older deer tend to die off naturally due to disease, age, or preditors. By allowing this natural cycle of succession to exist, there are now places available in the herd for the newer younger deer to take. Well, since dairy cows have excellent care, most diseases don't kill the older cows, we have a number of them in our herds. We need to make room in our herds for the younger cows, thereby allowing the natural cycle of succession to continue. Hence culling, which is our version of natural succession in our herds.

    Regarding calves. Some dairies do feed milk to their calves that is from the cows, however they make sure to pasteurize it to prevent transfer of disease from cow to calf. There a number of different pathogens that can be transfered to the calf through feeding cows' milk that could cause early death as a calf or persistant diseases as a grown cow. It's a risk to allow the calf to nurse and expose them to those pathogens. We choose to feed milk replacer to our calves. It is an all milk based product, no plant or animal products, but we use this because we do not have a pasteurizer that would make our cows' milk safe for calf consumption. Our calves do however get the milk from their mothers (provided the mother is in good health and free of disease) for the first 3 days of their lives. We do feed milk from other cows, which we freeze and store, to calves whoose mother's were ill at the time of delivery. This insures that calves will get passive immunity from their mother's milk, but also prevents transfer of some potentially deadly pathogens.

    Regarding weaning in dairy calves: We wean our calves off of milk replacer at 45 days of age, some earlier and some later, depending on the status of their health. If they have some health issue during raising, we choose to wean later, but if they are excelling and have a great appetite then we wean earlier. Numerous research studies have shown that calves have no need for milk in their diet once they are consistantly consuming about 2 pounds of dry feed (grain) for a period of days. Excellent rumen development occurs with the consumption of grain and later hay. This development was quanified as the growth of papillae which help to increase apsoption of vital nutrients from the stomach contents. By increasing the growth of these papillae through consumption of grain and hay, instead of milk (at this age) calves are able to become better ruminants. Thereby becoming better at digesting forages, grasses, and hays as an adult cow. Also included in this research was a comparison with milk fed calves, which were not able to be as effective at digesting forages, grasses, and hays as adults, because the extra milk consumption had prevented growth of these vital papillae. Thanks for your concerns.

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I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!