By Bob Frazee
Last week, someone forwarded to me a sickening video of animal abuse recently posted by Mercy for Animals at www.mercyforanimals.org. The video involves an Ohio dairy farm employee abusing calves and cows -- stabbing them with pitchforks, hitting them with pipes, throwing calves down on their backs, and kicking them in the head.
I couldn't watch the entire video. It was too upsetting to watch.
No one in the dairy industry – no human – supports this kind of treatment. The employee shown in the video was subsequently arrested and charged with 12 counts of cruelty to animals – after the dairy fired him.
I've visited many dairy farms over the years. Animal health and proper care is of utmost importance on all of them, both from a business perspective, and a moral one. Making sure that the cows have nutritious feed and fresh water, appropriate housing and veterinary care and humane treatment is expected and required. Anything less is not tolerated.
It bothers me that video footage of bad actions of cruel people is what is held up to be common place for people to see, rather than images of the good farmers who make their livelihood by producing milk. [Vegetarian organizations, Humane Society of the United States and Mercy for Animals are spearheading a new referendum campaign against confinement animal housing in Ohio.]
June happens to be Dairy Month. Hopefully, I'll be able to visit some of the wonderful dairy farmers in our area. When I go, I might just borrow my daughter's flip camera, and see if I can figure out how to take a video of my own.
Frazee is president and CEO of Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit.