During my time overseeing the undercover investigations at Mercy For Animals (MFA) we documented horrific animal abuse. Much of it so shocking it was featured on national and international news media. This photo being featured by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on its Facebook page is from our (MFA’s) case at Willet Dairy in New York state. The photo shows a painful procedure called “disbudding.” This was one of our earlier employment-based cases (earlier = 2009, so hardly long ago).
This is the Dairy Industry.
It doesn’t want you to know the truth.
Using a cautering device, this worker digs and burns the horn out of calf after calf. According to dairy experts who reviewed the footage, these calves were all far too old for the procedure not that it’s any less cruel or painful at a younger age.
Ag Gag laws are there to keep you from knowing the truth. You deserve to know the truth and these animals don’t deserve to suffer for absolutely no reason.
The Truth Awaits.
This Willet Dairy employee ties each calf’s head/face to the gate and the calves all struggled and vocalized (cried out) as they were burned right on their skulls.
Willet Dairy provided, as is often the case, no pain killers either during or after the procedure. Willet Dairy also did not give the animals (this one or many others) and medical care for their illnesses. Many suffered to death.
And indeed, just as this disbudding evidence shows, most of what animal agribusiness actually is trying to hide from the public is its standard procedures – Yes! How the dairy, egg, and meat industries treat animals regularly! That’s what they don’t want you to see. I’m certain they don’t want you to see the horrors of Conklin Dairy either.
What did we document?
Calves having their tails cut off and horns burned out of their skulls without painkillers, workers hitting, kicking and shocking cows, sick and injured animals left to suffer without proper veterinary care, and cows forced to live in filthy and overcrowded sheds – these were the abuses uncovered during an MFA investigation at Willet Dairy in Locke, New York.
Tail docking cattle is among the most disturbing practices our undercover investigator captured on film. A worker uses a bladed clamp to slice off the ends of calves’ tails, severing nerves, skin and vertebrae – all without the use of anesthesia. The calves’ legs buckle from the pain, as they stagger and stumble to the ground. The worker then applies a smoking cautery device to the amputations.
The AVMA opposes routine tail docking of cattle. Current scientific literature indicates that routine tail docking provides no benefit to the animal, and that tail docking can lead to distress during fly seasons. When medically necessary, amputation of tails must be performed by a licensed veterinarian.
[AVMA. "Tail Docking of Cattle." https://www.avma.org/KB/Policies/Pages/Tail-Docking-of-Cattle.aspx. Accessed July 24, 2013.]
And the results?
Our investigation, which would be criminal under the every single Ag Gag law out there whether in place or as one of the proposed bills:
1. Garnered national media attention on ABC’s Nightline opening the hearts and minds of millions to the plight of farmed animals.
2. Resulted to a criminal conviction on grounds of cruelty to animals.
3. Led to a compassionate bill being proposed in the NY Assembly to prohibit the docking of cows tails, just as horse tail docking was already – for decades – outlawed.
I had to push the prosecutors in this case to do their jobs as they didn’t want to do anything about the situation. In fact, it was months (and months) later – long after they told us they weren’t going to do anything - that we went public with the Nightline coverage and then the Cayuga County District Attorney’s office scrambled to look as though they cared all the while trying to discredit us.
District Attorney Jon Budelmann‘s offensive (so offensive) Assistant District Attorney Diane Adsit (“who cares?!” she said in unison [and I'm not kidding] with her “investigator” who’d done zero [as far as I could tell] investigating over the length of time a woman could have a child and simply filed away our evidence) either lied to the man (Budelmann) OR they are both (or, including investigator all three) chumps over there. All three.
If Budelmann knew the truth (my guess would be that he did) he lied to the public.
When will they learn not to mess with people who have evidence, the truth, and who actually care about the issue we are there to discuss? Do they think we will merely go away? How silly. Silly, silly.
Hmmm. Speaking of: Lots of lying going on.
But, back to the topic at hand: The Results of this case continued.
New York State by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, as a result of our evidence, introduced a state bill to prohibit tail docking of dairy cows - similar to the one enacted in California the year prior. Painfully cutting off the tails of horses had been illegal in New York State for decades already.
It’s high time that we extend this same modest protection to cattle.
Cows use their tails to keep flies away and given the fact that most dairy cows in the U.S. live in what I would describe as “manure swamps” (you can hear the investigator swishing through the liquid manure even in the Willet Dairy footage), it is outrageous that we would painfully slice through their skin, nerve endings, and tail bone simply because the workers don’t want to get swat by feces-covered tails.
My suggestion to them is to let the cows live in sanitary conditions and leave their tails alone.
Now speaking of my evidenced concern for corruption: “Man, oh, Man! (Woman, oh, Woman!, etc.), the City Prosecutor Tim Aslaner (not the assistants but the main one) in Marysville, Ohio, for the Conklin Dairy investigation that I mentioned earlier? Along with his buddy the Union County District Attorney David Phillips? Wow.
Corrupt? You tell me.
It’s all online and recorded.
Let’s not forget the Ohio Farm Bureau for which Phillips became a mere mouthpiece for. His comments were so completely pro the Dairy industry, the Conklin owners, and the Ohio Farm Bureau in an anti-animal protection campaign (with a “how dare they expose this in our community?!” attitude spouting soundbites written for him, I can only assume since they are the same throughout, by animal agribusiness folks whose talking points are always way off the mark and focused on attacking advocates rather than correcting the violence and abuses inherent in their industries). David Phillips: Shame on You. You know better. And your one-sided, partial evidence provided hearing politically mastered to lock up the evidence about how the workers went into detail about Gary Conklin’s violence toward calves is despicable.
The Ohio Farm Bureau aired statements by it’s pseudo-spokespersons David Phillips, Conklin Farms owner Gary Conklin, and others it KNEW to be false.
How do I know that?
Because I interviewed with them and told them the truth AND provided evidence which the Ohio Farm Bureau contact said was really alarming and confusing to him given what he’d been told had occurred by those above and his colleagues [that's a paraphrase].
Yup. The Ohio Farm Bureau had video evidence proving what they would record and AIR to be false, YET the Ohio Farm Bureau didn’t question the statements. It didn’t challenge the statements. It simply aired them as fact. Wow. Shame.
Corrupt? You tell me.
And we’ll fight unconstitutional laws until they are gone.
This, too, would have been criminal to expose and stop under Ag Gag laws: