Year of Investigation:
Reitz Dairy Farm, Shamokin, PA, USA
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Description of Abuse from Investigating Organization:
A PETA undercover investigation inside a Land O’Lakes supplier facility in Pennsylvania revealed routine neglect and cruelty to cows whose milk is used for the giant company’s products. Over the course of several months, the investigation documented deplorable, filthy conditions for cows on the farm, such as pens that were filled with deep excrement, and cows who suffered from ailments and conditions so severe that they collapsed and became “downers” but were not put out of their misery or given veterinary care in a timely manner, if at all.
Land O’Lakes “inspected” the farm in June 2009—during the course of PETA’s investigation—and even noted that there were areas in need of cleaning (including the milking parlor walls) but approved the facility nonetheless.
The farm’s owner and one of his sons were caught on video electro-shocking cows who were in too much pain to stand up. One of the farmer’s sons kicked a cow and jabbed her with the blade of a pocket knife. The dairy industry’s standard forms of cruelty also led to suffering for these cows. In order to make milking easier, cows’ tails were amputated by tightly binding them with elastic bands, causing the skin and tissue to slowly die and slough off and leaving the animals unable to swat away flies, which, in addition to tormenting the cows, also led to the spread of disease. Tail-docking is unnecessary and cruel, which is why it has been condemned by the American Veterinary Medical Association and banned in California.
PETA’s investigation also reveals cows and calves who were kept in pens and barns whose floors were covered with deep excrement, which caused foot and hoof problems and fostered the spread of disease. Calves rescued from the farm had pneumonia, “manure scald,” ringworm, pinkeye, and parasites. Some cows suffered respiratory distress and had pus-filled nasal discharge streaming down their faces. Abscesses were common on the farm—some of them burst and oozed pus, even as cows were being milked, as can be seen in our video.
World-renowned meat and dairy industry expert Dr. Temple Grandin, after reviewing the footage, said:
“The conditions are absolutely atrocious. … It was obvious that the place was seldom cleaned and … that many sick animals were not receiving veterinary treatment. … The dairy manager totally NEGLECTED his animals. … Many animals suffer greatly.” – Temple Grandin
Read the full story and view footage from the investigation at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.