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  1. BJ says

    I haven’t watched the video yet, Carrie, because I’m afraid of how it would upset me. But, I am so glad to know how quickly the farmers reacted and changed things. If anything, I guess I’d fault them for not keeping a closer eye on the welfare of their animals, but the devotion, commitment, and concern they showed once the problem was revealed is laudable.

    It would be wonderful if MFA had to go back and revisit the place and present how things were so quickly remedied. Rather than try to get people to stop buying dairy products, they could pat themselves on the back for being instrumental in getting a problem corrected.

    • Lauren Schlothauer says

      This video breaks my heart, and to think it happened only a few hours away in my home state:( I used to show dairy heifers and to watch was sickening, with that being said I am proud of the action that was taken once they knew the abuse was occurring and hope that everyone realizes that this is not common and producers love their animals and tray them with respect. Thankyou for sharing.

      • karen says

        The content in this news report has angered me greatly and I want to reply. I live in New Mexico, and am embarrassed about this report of terrible treatment of animals. I don’t understand how anyone can justify this behavior and I truly hope all that feel it is wrong will come forward in their comments. All we have is the support of numbers in the plight for fairness, so please support us with your comments and hopefully others will be made aware of this mistreatment.

  2. clyde says

    Why don’t these people go film what is happening on a farm where they treat their animals with respect, once again it is a small group of people pushing one of their social agendas.

    • peanutbuttergrapevine says

      Yes, clyde. MFA is in the fund raising business. No one will send them a nickel if they went undercover and DIDN’T find any abuse or neglect. No one would be outraged except the tiny group of angry misanthropic keyboard jockeys convinced that owning and working with animals is, by itself, cruel. They justify attacking everyone for the actions of a few by sharing these videos. Sharing them feeds a kind of addiction. Like serial rapists and killers who get all charged up by revisiting their crimes and enjoy shocking others with their gruesome tales. Who would condemn anyone who claims to want to put an end to animal abuse (rhetorical question)?

  3. Lynette says

    I suggest you get a life.. if all you can do is run around and film what you consider abuse… People are trying to make a living to produce food to put on your table all you can do is run your mouth.. How about you say thank you for working 12 hours say 7 days week 365 days of the year in all weather elements so that you will have food on your table…..

  4. Cheryl Zvacek says

    My only concern (besides these organizations trying to ruin animal agriculture) is using MFA in place of Mercy for Animals. The reasoning behind this is that we have an organization that is called MFA that provides feed and other supplies for farmers and I would hate for them to get confused with each other. Keep up the awesome work!

    • dairycarrie says

      Cheryl, MFA is a common abbreviation used for this organization. I doubt people would confuse the actions of one with the other.

  5. Edwin says

    Big KUDOS to the other dairy farms who opened their doors to welcome the girls as the farmer shut down the operation.

  6. Marsha says

    Mercy For Animals- The same group who, along with HSUS, opposed the requirement to report abuse within 24 hours of discovery. Kudos to the farm for taking quick and decisive action.

    • dairycarrie says

      It would be a lot easier to thank them if they weren’t using the footage they find for their own gain. This video was filmed over the course of two months. There is no reason that the abuse needed to continue for that amount of time for any reason other that MFA’s want for more footage. While I am not a supporter of Ag-Gag laws, I don’t think it’s ok that this person filmed this abuse over that long of a time period before going to police.

        • dairycarrie says

          Why should an undercover animal rights activist be considered an investigator? Shouldn’t an investigator be unbiased? MFA had the opportunity to end the abuse much earlier than they did. They did not take that opportunity because it would mean that they didn’t have the video footage that they wanted to use.

        • PythagoreanCrank (@PythaCrank) says

          Would an unbiased investigator overlook this abuse? They have a bias sure, that’s why they’re there in the first place. What is the dairy industry doing to curtail these abuses is the question that needs to be answered instead of shooting the messenger? Your PETA debunking was on point but obvious abuse is obvious.

        • dairycarrie says

          No they would not and I clearly state that this is abuse. I find it reprehensible that an activist will shirk their responsibility to report the abuse of animals in a timely matter and defend their actions by taking on the title of “investigator”. An undercover activist of any kind does not equal an investigator.
          As an industry there are many, many programs in place to help educate farmers and employees on proper cattle handling techniques, ensure cow well being and in general stop abuse. However as long as there is a human factor involved the potential for a person to be a real asshole is still there. What would you like to see our industry do to stop abuse?

        • PythagoreanCrank (@PythaCrank) says

          I don’t care to quibble on semantics. Let’s call the person who filmed this Hitler With A Video Camera, whatever. What was captured though is obviously something wrong that needs to be fixed. And it was, hooray! But it took Hitler With A Video Camera to catch it. What do other companies do to curtail negative human factors? I’m not an expert in that. Psychological profiling? Surveillance cameras? Tighter oversight?

        • dairycarrie says

          Education, cameras and tighter oversight would certainly help. Which is what our industry groups are encouraging farmers to implement on their farms.

    • Sam says

      if they were only interested in stopping the abuse, sure, but how much of that footage was edited out. The person running the video should have immediately made it known to his superior. If that didn’t stop the abuse, then he should have went to the owners and made them aware of the abuse. Which in this case would have stopped it immediately. It doesn’t take 40 work days to establish a pattern of abuse, after his first week of work, he should have had enough evidence to stop it. But it isn’t about stopping the abuse, it is about stopping an industry from existing, in this case the Dairy industry, and just for the record, I am not a dairy farmer in any way shape or form.

      • Jamie says

        I recently read, My Gentle Barn, and the amount of evidence they had to present to authorities before anyone took action to investigate the insanely disgusting abuse was crazy. It took them a long time before they could get one of the worst backyard breeders shut down and he was selling animals to people torturing them and proud of it. My guess is that MFA has to present a monument of evidence before anyone pays any attention.

        • dairycarrie says

          I’ve never read that book but I will look it up. MFA is very adept at using social media and the press. If they had footage of any abuse on a farm, even one incident of it and the authorities ignored it, they could and I am sure they would use their press connections and social media presence to force the issue. They certainly didn’t need 2 months of videotaping to get enough footage to get people calling for the heads of those involved.

  7. PythagoreanCrank (@PythaCrank) says

    I’m breaking this off and starting new thread for formatting reasons:

    dairycarrie said:
    “Education, cameras and tighter oversight would certainly help. Which is what our industry groups are encouraging farmers to implement on their farms.”

    Do you think those encouragements by industry are fair?

    • dairycarrie says

      Thanks for starting a new thread, I’ve been trying to fix that shrinking comment box in nested threads but I can’t seem to get it to work right.

      Anyways, to answer your question, yes. I think that our industry as a whole has as much a responsibility to our cows as to our customers. I think it’s a dumb move for a dairy farm with multiple employees to not have a camera system. Industry groups offering education on handling of down cows, proper stockmanship, better facility design and welfare techniques is nothing new. Dairy farmers have been able to go to classes and seminars for years to learn. However I will say that for small farmers who don’t have help and for farmers outside of dairy centric areas those opportunities are harder to make happen. I am also happy to see that more of these classes are being offered in Spanish for the people that are hands on with cows on many of the farms. We have great organizations like this one (http://www.pdpw.org/programs_and_events.php) that focus only on education and training. Our main industry group and national checkoff organization have created the FARM Program to help ensure animal welfare (http://www.nationaldairyfarm.com/) and I think it goes a long way in setting standards in our industry. I do with the program wasn’t as geared towards large dairy farms as it is and that it had some teeth but it’s a solid program.

      • Yeo-dairyman says

        Hi Carrie, does your operation participate in the FARM program? Does your cooperative require it? Do you and hubs refer to written protocols when deciding what to do with a cow? Do you provide him with annual employee training? You make a great point about being geared toward large farms. It seems to justify large farms at the expense of smaller ones. It’s pretty tough for a 40 cow dairy with just one thin or lame cow they are working with and meet any benchmarks of 98-99%. But a 4000 cow dairy can have 40 of them and meet the high standards. Is the further demise of the small dairy farm what the concerned consumer is looking for?

        • dairycarrie says

          We do not participate in the program at this time. The issues you bring up here with written protocols and trainings not being very practical for small farms are the same concerns I have about the program.

      • Yeo-dairyman says

        We don’t either, and I’m glad to hear we’re not alone in our concerns. But our member-owned cooperative is going to be forcing us to participate if we wish to remain members. They are doing this in no small part due to the occurrence of videos like this, and the perception that the FARM program is the answer to the problem. I guess if it is the answer, even us agvocates are going to have to walk the walk and help drive the nails in the coffin of the last small, family operated dairy farms.

        • Yeo-dairyman says

          Unfortunately I’m not smart enough to be on facebook, so I’ll have to give kudos to Mr. Richter’s comments today here. How can you strongly advocate for this and fuel the fire of cooperatives forcing this on their members when you don’t even join the program on your own operation? My research has shown that at least one of the advisory board members of Validus has a history of kowtowing to PETA.

        • dairycarrie says

          It is worrisome to me that there are members of our industry so resistant to listening to our customers. What we have been doing isn’t working very well for us. It’s time to figure out how we can balance our customer’s expectations for us with modern farming. The FARM program is a step towards finding that balance. The program isn’t perfect but not having some sort of program isn’t an option.

          As to our lack of participation, our coop had talked about enrolling, but ended up not doing so. Putting the ball back in our court. I discussed doing an audit with Validus at Expo and intend to follow through. Meanwhile I have done a good amount of research on the program and we already use most of the practices they suggest. We will need to do something about the paperwork side of things but as I also learned at Expo, there is a new program from Merck called Dairy365 that has tools to help bridge that gap.

        • Yeo-dairyman says

          I understand your concern, but which customers are we supposed to listen to? Although they don’t make as much noise, the majority of consumers want a supply chain that provides quality products at the least possible cost. Administering feel-good verification programs and third party audits costs money and adds to cost of the product. One of the “customers” we are told is looking for this is McDonalds. I challenge anyone to enter a McDonalds restaurant and find any significant number of their customers who give a rat’s rear-end about this. It’s a few marketing people in the corporate offices who are pushing this and attempting to mold and indoctrinate their customers into accepting societal change. PETA openly stated at their meetings on college campuses 20 years ago that their goal was for their supporters to enter jobs throughout the food industry and use those positions to further their agenda. Sure, the practices FARM suggests seem reasonable and widely practiced now, but with time will slowly chip away and evolve into more oppressive requirements to align with animal rights specifications.

          If certain customers want something different, why is there a need to balance it with modern farming? We are in a free market to practice whatever kind of farming practices we wish to pursue a market with. Organic is an example of this. I have so far chosen not to follow this path, mainly due to the inability to use modern antibiotics to cure a sick animal and return her to productivity. But after watching Frontline on PBS the other night, I can see the validity of why customers might want this. Does this mean I should push for the entire industry to go organic? No way–it only means I should analyze my own business plan and reconsider whether I can sustainably make this transition myself into this growing market. This may be the only answer left for the small, family operated farm.

          I appreciate your willingness to seek animal care verification independent of your cooperative. The FARM program is available to individual producers as well. I know there are second-party evaluators not affiliated with coops–possibly check with extension veterinary staff. And thank you very much for the info on Dairy365. This will be a helpful resource when the silk suits force us into participating.

  8. Betty Jo Lill says

    I spend a great deal of time reading about farming practices from farmers all over the country. And, I know how we farm – that we care for our animals, the land we farm, and raising safe crops. I’ve learned to recognize extremist views and I do not ever look at their videos. If I saw animals being abused I would report it, not go undercover and make a video. I put these groups in the same category as people that do the abuse. I have horses and am well aware of the abuse that exists with these animals, the slaughter issue and the kill buyers. I will not engage in any conversation with extremists whose purpose is not to protect and promote the humane treatment of animals but to promote their own views. I certainly believe that Carrie and her farm operation treat their cows with respect and dignity and I believe the same for the 99% of farmers out there doing the right thing. Thanks Carrie for your informative post.

    • Jamie says

      I recently read, My Gentle Barn, and I was shocked to learn about the amount of evidence they had to present to authorities before anyone took action to investigate the insanely disgusting abuse of any backyard breeder and proud animal torturer (literally torture, for fun). It took them a long time before they could get one of the worst backyard breeders shut down and he was selling animals to people torturing them and proud of it. My guess is that MFA has to present a monument of evidence before anyone pays any attention.

  9. Chrystal Kiefer says

    Thank you for posting this! My family and I live on part of my parent’s dairy farm and I will admit that my blood boils when I see anti-farming messages spread like wildfire on social media. It is great to find someone on my side for once — instead of a news feed that constantly gives into the fear tactics of those that promote their anti-farming agenda!

  10. Sarah says

    Thanks for sharing your perspective on this! I really like how you calculated the number of dairy farmers in the United States to show that farmers really do care about their animals. Your point on child abuse is excellent. We don’t automatically assume anyone with children is treating them poorly…there are people however who have that automatic assumption about farmers. Thanks for the inside scoop on livestock care and life on a farm!

  11. Justin Bartholomay says

    Great article Carrie. I couldn’t agree more when you said you hope that the people in the video will be prosecuted. Most people assume that ag-related people always stand by other ag-related people. This isn’t always the case, such as in this issue. It’s important that animal abusers are penalized properly as its extremely an inhumane gesture. As I have lived and grown up on a beef operation I agree so strongly with the way that animals are treated and how important it is for the owners to treat their animals properly. Good inclusion of facts and opinion. Awesome read!

    • dairycarrie says

      How about I paint you with the same brush as all the other vegan animal activists out there. How many ways can you be tied to someone that doesn’t represent you or your values? If you’re good, what do you have to hide?

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