|Farmers want happy cows,
not abused cows.
Recently, PETA filed a Complaint with local and state agencies alleging that a small dairy farm in North Carolina was guilty of animal cruelty. Of course, PETA also happily provided a short video from the farm supposedly depicting the animals that are being abused.
(No doubt the PETA member that was on the farm was not there with permission of the farmers, at least not with permission to stage animal abuse and film it. Once we dive into the contents of the video, I hope you’ll agree that laws prohibiting this type of thing are desperately needed.)
The video, which you can view here, depicts cows trudging through manure up to their knees. According to PETA, the cows are forced to stand in their own waste while they eat and rest. PETA also claims that the manure has sat in a holding place for so long that it has now hardened. In probably the most disgusting allegation, the video shows that the cows are wadding around in the manure, which covers their udders, right before they were supposed to be milked.
Viewers are also introduced to “Cow #2.” She has manure on her legs and one of her hooves is apparently injured so that she limps on it. The video also points out that she appears emaciated, as does Cow #133. Cow #6 has a bloody nose.
Now, I’m not a dairy farmer myself, but thankfully I have some fellow blogging friends that are dairy farmers. I asked my buddy Krista, who blogs over at The Farmer’s Wifee about life on her family’s dairy farm, to look at the video and tell me her thoughts.
Krista pointed out that the cows filmed standing in knee deep manure are healthy, clean, and shiny. If those cows were always subjected to knee high manure, their entire bodies would be covered with the manure (tail swishing will do that). They would also not appear to be so healthy.
Krista also tipped me off on something that can help us spot fraudulent accusations of animal abuse as in this video: when cows are healthy and well fed they will have shiny coats. As you can see in the video, not only are the cows clean, but their coats are also shiny.
Krista noted that the cow with the bloody nose appears to be out in a pasture. That may explain why most of the cows appear to be very clean — they don’t actually live in the barn where the manure is kept.
Clearly, those cows were made to stand in the knee high manure so the PETA member could make his video. That’s nice; right? Accuse someone of animal abuse, but make the animals suffer poor conditions so you can make up the evidence.
Krista’s thoughts on the video reflect the findings of the Haywood County Animal Control and the Department of Agriculture and Animal Control. In response to the video, inspectors from both agencies visited the farm. Both agencies concluded there was no evidence of animal abuse to support PETA’s claims.
According to local officials, the farmer did need to clean out the barn, but the rain and wet weather had made it that difficult. Nonetheless, whatever the actual problems on the farm were, it did not amount to animal cruelty. (Check out the local ABC channel’s article here.)
Despite what a radical group like PETA wants people to think, farmers and ranchers do care a lot about their livestock. I may not be directly involved in animal agriculture, but I know how passionate my friends are when it comes to their animals. It is a business and they want their product to be top of the line quality. But it goes farther than that, because they’re also dedicating their lives to their animal operations.
PETA’s goal is to change your mind about eating meat, not highlighting the care, time, and effort that goes into having livestock. Shame on them for setting up a member on the farm and manipulating it to look like these cows are being mistreated. The cameraman obviously went on the farm to get these shots for PETA, not take care of the cows.
If you would like to know more about animal agriculture, try talking to an actual farmer. If you don’t know how, let me know and I can set you up with one.
Sarah [NurseLovesFar says
This is excellent. I've seen many dairy farmers speaking out about this and I'm glad they are all coming to the same conclusion that this video is extremely misleading so they have debunked it until proven otherwise. It's good to see dairy farmers agvocating together, it's what the industry needs!