Independent, nationally and world-renowned academic and professional experts in farmed animal welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA's undercover investigation. Below are some of their statements:
Temple Grandin, PhD, PAS
Dr. Grandin is considered the world's leading expert on farmed-animal welfare. She is an associate professor of livestock behavior at Colorado State University and an animal welfare advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the meat industry. In response to this investigation, Dr. Grandin states:
I watched the dairy video and the abuse of the downed cow with electric prods and dragging with the tractor was horrific animal abuse. If this abusive treatment had occurred at a slaughter plant, the plant would have been shut down by the USDA. The employees were constantly beating and kicking animals as hard as they could. The atrocious treatment of cows at this dairy is an indicator of a total lack of management supervision.
Bernard E. Rollin, PhD
Dr. Rollin is a distinguished professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University and is well known internationally for his over 30 years of work in animal welfare. He was a major architect of federal laws protecting laboratory animals, and has written two books on farmed-animal welfare. He serves on the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production and is an expert witness on animal welfare issues in the United States and abroad.
William Wailes, BS
Mr. Wailes is an extension dairy specialist for the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University. He is also an internationally renowned dairy expert, who has owned and been involved with dairy farms all of his life.
A joint statement by Dr. Rollin and Mr. Wailes states:
Never have we seen such outright sadistic pleasure taken by workers in animal suffering, including gratuitous shocking of the cows (quintessentially sweet and gentle creatures); dragging them with chains; and in what is arguably the worst sequence, one worker savagely beating the cows with a cane, while laughing and screaming maniacally.
The overall impression is of a Hieronymous Bosch vision of hell for cows. The physical conditions, flooded walkways and slick footing, completely replicate the uncaring attitude of owners and managers, as do the docked tails of the cows, a procedure now recognized as useless, painful, and stressful.
[T]he only way to stop such outrageous behavior is to serve notice that society will not tolerate it. This means...that not only sadistic workers must be prosecuted and serve jail time, but so too the owners and managers, since they clearly demonstrated that the normal human motivations of animal productivity and economic returns do not move them.
Debra Teachout, DVM, MVSc
Dr. Teachout is a practicing veterinarian who graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She also holds an advanced degree in veterinary clinical pathology from Western College of Veterinary Medicine and has completed additional coursework in farmed-animal welfare. Dr. Teachout states:
In this video the animal handling is so brutal and callous in its obvious intent to cause pain, fear and injury, that it is frankly astonishing and disturbing. The conduct of the workers toward the cows is deplorable.
The observed culture of cruelty at this farm has obviously been allowed to flourish for so long, brutality has become the norm. These cows are serving as targets of vicious intent to harm in a management system that is either absent or complicit in a facility culture that exudes violence and abuse. The cows on this farm are suffering from pain, injury and fear. Their welfare has not only been ignored, it has been threatened by abusive personnel and filthy unsafe living conditions. I have rarely seen such brutal treatment of farm animals, and this farm must be shut down immediately. Those responsible for the cruel treatment of these cows must be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They should also never be allowed to be responsible for or work around animals again.
Armaiti May, DVM, CVA
Dr. May is a practicing veterinarian with experience treating farmed animals, who received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. Dr. May states:
The level of disregard for animals shown and the dangerous conditions at this facility are outrageously appalling. My overall impression is that the facility where this footage was taken is that it lacks regard for basic welfare of animals in its care and does not have proper supervision of its workers. In addition, there are poor sanitation practices and unsafe working conditions which endanger both human and animal health and safety. I recommend that charges of animal cruelty be brought against the workers involved and that the farm be shut down for cruel treatment of animals and lack of proper oversight of its workers.
Jonathan Balcombe, PhD
Dr. Balcombe is an ethologist with bachelors and masters degrees in biology, and a doctorate in animal behavior from the University of Tennessee. He is the author of four books on animal behavior, as well as more than 40 book chapters and peer-reviewed journal papers. Dr. Balcombe states:
This footage shows grossly negligent and savagely cruel treatment of dairy cows by workers. The conditions are treacherously slippery, leading to injuries, downed cows, and workers who beat and torment the animals to try to get them to move. This is a concentration camp for miserable cows. It is totally unacceptable. The operation should be shut down immediately and the workers charged with animal cruelty.
Lee Schrader, DVM
Dr. Schrader is a practicing veterinarian, who obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Schrader has over 35 years of experience working with animals, particularly animals with serious, difficult-to-diagnose disorders. Dr. Schrader states:
The brutality and viciousness of the workers in this facility toward the cows is stunning. The animals are electrically shocked, beaten with canes, kicked and jumped on, and subjected to aggressive extension of their tails, resulting in signs of severe pain and fear in the cows. … The treatment of these cows is sadistic and unconscionable.
The treatment of these cows is brutally inhumane. The workers are cruel and obviously do not know how to handle cattle correctly. The filthy, wet barn results in severe stress and injuries to the cows. This facility should be closed immediately.