Tuesday, February 2, 2010

AR Groups Says Majority of Farmers Abuse Livestock

Animal rights group says a majority of farmers treat animals poorly
By Debra J. Groom / The Post-Standard
January 27, 2010, 8:50PM

Syracuse, NY -- An official with animal rights group Mercy for Animals said Wednesday morning the dairy industry is known for treating cattle cruelly and abuse scenes shown in an undercover video shot by a group member are scenes that exist at farms across the country.

Matt Rice, the New York campaign coordinator for Mercy for Animals, showed a video the group says was shot at Willet Dairy in Genoa, Cayuga County, to bolster its claims that cows are routinely abused at dairy farms. The video was shown during a news conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Syracuse.

The video shows cows with open sores, calves and heifers getting their horns burned off and tails docked (cut short) without painkillers, calves being dragged away from their mothers shortly after birth and cows being beaten, kicked and hit by employees.

Rice said the goal of the Willet Dairy video campaign is to "expose the public to abuses at a modern dairy" and push for laws to protect the animals. He said once people see what is happening at dairy farms, they will see "the best thing anyone can do is remove dairy from their diets."

Jessica Ziehm, speaking for the state Department of Agriculture and Markets, said it is outrageous to say a majority of dairy farmers treat their cows poorly.

"Cows are their livelihood and they do all they can to make their cows comfortable, happy and healthy," she said. Read More

To claim that a majority of farmers abuse their livestock shows a complete lack of understanding about animal welfare and performance. I have previously heard claims by uneducated people that claim abuse and poor management can be covered up with modern production methods. The fact of the matter is that the laws of nature can’t be superseded. If the comfort and care needs for an animal aren’t being met, they will not be productive. Year after year, we see our ability to produce food increase while using fewer natural resources. The real story here is that no matter how many livestock live on a farm, they have to be properly cared for so the farm can continue to be profitable.

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