On Tuesday, Mercy for Animals (MFA), a radical animal activist group based in Chicago released a shocking video showing abuse of dairy cattle and calves. There has been a lot of buzz about this video.
My friend over at Hoosier Farm Babe Tells Tails has already posted a very good discussion of this video. I will not belabor the point much longer, but there are a few additional points I would like to make.
This type of animal abuse is against the law in Ohio, and the employee in the video that was performing the abuse has been arrested. I would like to know how the person filming this undercover video could sit by and watch this abuse occurring without trying to stop it. How can this person say that they are concerned about animal welfare if he sat back and let this abuse happen with not even a word?
The Ohio Farm Bureau and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have both released statements regarding this video. In a nutshell, both organizations feel that the abuse was unnecessary and remarkably cruel (obviously), and wonder what prompted this type of abuse. I think it goes without saying that this kind of behavior is NOT acceptable under any welfare standards. The AVMA has a number of welfare policies that have been in place for years. I think it is important to note that this does not happen on all, or even on most, farms of any kind (dairy, beef, pork, or anything else), in any state. At the end of the day, animals that are treated in this way are unhappy, and do not produce to their potential, resulting in the farmer losing money. Please don’t misunderstand – I am not saying that the only reason for these animals to be here is to make money for the farmer. But that is part of their job, and if they are not treated right, they will not perform, and no one will be happy.
Finally, I would like to point out the very last part of the video, if you choose to watch that far. The video closes with a black screen and the words “Ditch cruelty. Ditch dairy.” Please, read these words, and think about what is the real mission of this organization and the real goal of this video. They are not trying to improve animal welfare. They are trying to use the aberrant behavior of one or a few individuals to cast a negative light on all of agriculture. They are hoping that you will see this video, think that this is how all cattle are treated, and stop eating dairy and beef. They would like for nothing more than to stop all kinds of animal agriculture. I do not have a problem with them pushing that issue, but I do have a problem with them doing it under the veil of trying to advance animal welfare.