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Dairy Farm Cruelty

Story ID:10625
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Birnamwood Wisconsin usa
Year:2014
Person:Mercy for Animals
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I really ”grew up” over 35 years ago when I got Peaches, my puppy. As I often
reflect – it was she who taught me to love all animals- because looking into her
eyes, I saw her soul.

All these years later - she is still my guiding inspiration. My older sister recently told
me how saddened she was that her family at large seems not to care about animal
suffering. Would I gather together some internet posts in this regard to give to them?

Yes, I was glad to do this, and I included in the packet the wonderful Pope Francis
encyclical - Laudato Si. Of course, since they are not practicing their faith, this
enclosure may not phase them at all- though even many non-Catholics have rallied
around its wonderful message of caring for our earth.

And lastly, I found 4 Compassionate Living (CL) magazines put out by Mercy for
Animals to include. I picked one up to reread, and it was like reading the messages
of farm animal cruelty for the first time, though over the years I have read these
same messages over and over again.

But indeed we have to read them again and again. The article that caused me
much pain was about what probably happens to cows daily in a typical dairy farm
in so many places in the U.S.

In the wake of the latest theatre shooting, President Obama recently said that his
greatest frustration is that we do not have common sense gun safety laws. Yes, this
is a legitimate concern, but shouldn’t the terrible suffering of farm animals in CAFOs
(concentrated animal farm operations) where animals suffer day in and day out be
one as well? Yet, he never voices concern about this.

The farm being profiled was the Andrus Dairy Farm in Birnamwood, Wisconsin. It is
one of many similar farms that supply milk -in this case to the Ohio-based Great Lakes
Cheese company which is one of the largest cheese companies in the country.

In July of 2014, an MFA undercover investigator was rolling his hidden camera to
expose animal cruelty at this Andrus Dairy. In just one month- he had amassed
hours of footage so disturbing that it would later be broadcast on national TV viewing
across the country

You might have seen it on TV. I missed it, but in it he tells us what he saw – workers
kicking and punching cows- while others aimed high-pressure hoses at their faces
from a few feet away. What kind of people do things like this? What have these
unfortunate victims done to deserve this cruelty? I can’t help thinking that families
are failing to bring up children with a moral compass of any kind.

Other employees chopped off cows sensitive tails with pruning shears without any
pain killers of any kind. Known as tail docking -they justify this cruelty as a standard
practice in the dairy industry. Why is this a standard practice? Why can’t the USDA
change it? Why can’t Congress change it? Sadly of course, I think I know why –
they could care less. I have found that the USDA generally shows little concern
for farm animal suffering in its many phases.

And when the tortured animals were too injured or sick to move, workers jumped on
their backs and beat them with sticks.

The investigator felt especially heartsick over the treatment of a cow he named Ellie.
These are his words:
“They had quite literally milked her for all she was worth...She was tired and worn
down by endless pregnancies, milkings, and daily beatings.....One day her legs gave
out—or she slipped on the slick, manure-coated floor...and she couldn’t get back up.
The workers tied a rope around her neck, hooked the other end up to an all-terrain vehicle
and dragged her across the ground.”

Thank God, I don’t drink milk. When the investigator reported this to Alan Andrus, his wife,
his daughter, and the farm supervisor- they could care less and even felt the worker should
be more active and concerned about keeping the cows in tow. How could these people be
so hard-hearted?

And sadly, when the video was turned over to the district attorney-he did not voice any
concern over the callous and cruel treatment of the cows. He also sided with the terrible
status quo of the dairy industry which Andrus used to justify this cruelty. What kind of
country are we to allow this cruelty to be the status quo?

I thank that brave investigator. I thank MFA for getting it viewed on national TV. How
much good it did – I truly wonder. People of compassion would have done something.
They could have written a letter to the editor. The could have complained to both the
President and the USDA. And the most concerned would have decided to give up dairy.
Sadly, I don’t think too many acted on this cruelty- simply because too many of us are
of the “Let George do it” mentality.