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Dairy Carrie: PETA’s Undercover North Carolina Dairy Farm Video

Yesterday, PETA struck again. This time they are attempting to slander a family farm in North Carolina. Blogger and dairy farmer, Dairy Carrie wrote an excellent blog explaining the truth behind the video. If you know anyone who believes that PETA’s work is beneficial to the welfare of animals or worse, they believe PETA speaks the truth, share this blog and shine a light on all the manure PETA spreads!

Periodically, the Alliance will be highlighting bloggers within the agricultural community. Dairy Carrie is an awesome example of a farmer and advocator for agriculture!

This afternoon I got an email about a new video that the People For Ethical Animals (PETA) had posted on their social media sites. My first thought was to roll my eyes, PETA isn’t exactly known to be the sane voice in animal welfare or even animal rights for that matter, but never the less I went and watched the video.

After watching the video for the first time I was disgusted! The video shows cows slogging through incredibly deep manure. Their legs are dirty and the amount of manure in the barn is unbelievable!

I started talking to other dairy farmers about this video and how there was absolutely no defending it when I realized something… The barn they show really is unbelievably dirty… as in so dirty that you have to ask yourself if what they are showing you is really real.

As I watched the video again I realized that the cows themselves were telling me the truth…

Peta Video from Dairy Farm

I see a lot of manure, I see cows with dirty legs. But I see something else, something that most people that aren’t around cows wouldn’t even think about or notice…

Clean Tails? Clean Tummy? Look at that bright white tail on the first cow. If she had in fact been living in filth like they show how in the world would she have kept her tail so clean? And as any dairy farmer knows, once a cow's tail gets covered in manure and she uses it to swat at the flies, her whole back gets covered in manure. I don't see that.

Our cows live in a “freestall” barn like this. The cows lay in a stall with their butt towards the alley. The alley is about 6 inches lower than the stalls the cows lay in. This is designed this way so that when a cow poops (remember cows have no problem pooping while laying down) the poop falls away from the cow and her udder.

This is our freestall barn. The girls are relaxing in their clean sand bedded stalls. We scrape the manure out of the alley twice a day while the girls are being milked.

However in this video the alley is so full of manure that if a cow was laying in the stall not only would her hips end up with manure on them, her tail would be covered in it. Once her tail was covered in manure and she flicked at flies, the rest of her body would be covered in manure as well. None of the cows in the video are dirty like that!

If you look at the cow above the knees... she's clean. Wait? What? How could that possibly be the case if she was living in such filth?

Look beyond the manure...

When I look beyond the manure I see a group of cows that are clean when if they were living in this barn they would be filthy from head to toe. I see a feed area with not a scrap of feed in it and my experience in dealing with manure tells me that this stuff has been moved around recently. While I don’t know this farmer and I don’t know the story about what’s going on here, to me it looks like these cows were paraded through this area for the purpose of making this video. The lack of feed in the feed area, coupled with the amount of manure makes me wonder if this part of the barn was being used for temporary manure storage rather than to house cows. That may be odd but it’s not abusive to the cows!

Aside from the manure situation let’s look at what the rest of the video says…

Voiceover Man Says- "This cow, only identified as '2' by a tag on her ear..."

Ok Mr. Voiceover man, this is kinda silly. I’m guessing that you didn’t ask the farmer about this cow. Maybe you tried asking the cow herself how she would like to be addressed?
This is like taking a photo of a guy waiting at the DMV and saying “This man only identified as 463, by the number in his hand.”… If you asked me I could tell you everything about my cows, from their name to who their mother and grandmother is but if you walked onto my farm you would see numbers in their ears.

What's going on here?

Here Mr. Voiceover man says that this cow is clearly emaciated because you can see her bones. I’ve covered this topic already HERE. The cliff notes version is that unless a cow is morbidly obese, you will always see it’s hip bones. This is how cows are built, they are not hippos nor should anyone expect them to look like hippos!

The voice over in the video calls this farm a “Dairy Factory” however from what I can see in the video, their milking parlor is smaller than ours, meaning that they aren’t set up to milk a lot of cows.

About that manure pit?

This manure pit looks pretty dang full to me. Mr Voiceover man tells us that it’s been sitting so long that the top hardened. Well, first of all, the point of having a manure pit is for it to contain manure until the farmer is able to haul the manure out without having to worry about runoff from heavy rains or snow melt. I wrote about how farmers handle manure HERE. Secondly, this manure pit is under a roof. This allows the farmer to divert rainwater from the manure pit, that’s a good thing! That would also explain why the top of the pit is dry.

About that manure pit...

PETA almost tricked me with this one. I watched the video and was ready to go and kick this farmer’s butt myself. If this video really showed what it says it shows the line of dairy farmers wanting to make sure this farm went out of business would stretch for miles. Nobody wants to see cows kept in conditions like this, especially dairy farmers.  I can totally understand how many people will watch this and walk away with a bad impression of not just this farm but all farms.

Of course that’s what PETA wants. As they say in the video, they want you to to go vegan. PETA claims that the milk from this farm went to Harris Teeter stores, however the milk company that buys milk from this farm has said that is incorrect. Considering PETA’s track record on getting their facts right, that’s not very surprising.

I don’t know what the full story is here and I’ll certainly do more checking but I feel confident that what the video is trying to show isn’t how things really are. If I find more information out, I’ll update this post.

I’m glad I took the time to watch this video again and see the real story. Unfortunately the Associated Press picked this story up this afternoon and sent it out to thousands of newspapers and television statements. Because of that, dairy farmers like myself get an undeserved black eye and now have a huge hill to climb to get the correct information out.  I hope you’ll share this post with your friends and not let PETA pull the wool over more people’s eyes.

To learn more about how dairy farmers care for cows please visit these sites-
The Dairyland Initiative

Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin

To read more from Dairy Carrie visit her blog at http://dairycarrie.com/


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If Animal Rights Organizations had Glass Walls: Part II

After attending the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) Taking Action for Animals (TAFA) Conference. I was convinced I knew what to expect from a trip to Los Angeles to attend the National Animal Rights Conference but, I was wrong.

The first indicator of this was seeing the same presenters from TAFA, representatives from all the animal rights organizations “greats” who were previously dressed in business attire now bare armed in “hipster” clothing. It made sense though; they undoubtedly matched the Animal Rights Conference attendees. In Los Angeles the attendees were mostly of the younger generation and “non conforming” individuals who proudly dawned “Meat is Murder” and “Vegan” tattoos.

The tone of this conference was quite clear as we attended sessions entitled Promise of Civil Disobedience, Applying Direct Action  and Know Your Rights 101. This group of ‘animal activists’ were clearly antimilitary yet, pro-militant as they proudly boasted their arrest from anti-war protests and successful animal ‘rescues’ from farms.

These ‘activist’ believe they are fighting for civil rights as one speaker claimed “animal rights is the final frontier.” This mantra was recited time and time again; that the new racism is “specism” as Ingrid Newkirk put it “to discriminate against animals is racist.”

Not only were the mostly California based activists way more radical then their HSUS ‘cousins,’ they also have a different opinion on Meatless Mondays. While those at TAFA saw MM as a gateway into a vegan lifestyle here in Los Angeles speakers addressed the campaign as “why would you base your moral character on something you do one day out of the week” accompanied by audience support.

Yet, there was some confusion in their “message.” Simone Reyes, esteemed assistant to business mogul Russell Simmons, for example labeled PETA as the creator of the ‘animal rights’ movement and Ingrid Newkirk a “freedom fighter.” Others, however, did not give her quite the same honor. As Alex Hershaft,. President and co-founder of the Farm Animal Rights Movement (Farm) shared that the ‘movement’ lacked a true leader and he listed off potential leaders Ms. Newkirk’s name was not included.

Hershaft quite interestingly noted: “If our opponents know how little we communicated – they would be amazed.” Numerous speakers noted that the disagreements within the ‘movement’ should stop, it was hurting their ‘cause’.

Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing attempted to provide comic relief at the beginning and end of both or presentations at both conferences. She began by asking: “

How many factory farmers does it take to change a light bulb?”

 “None, because they want to keep you in the dark.”

She wrapped up her sessions with:

“How many animal activist does it take to change a light bulb?”

“It doesn’t matter, we are not here to change a light bulb, we are here to change the world.”

While the audience got quite a few chuckles out of Ms. Meier’s “comedy”, I found it difficult to plaster on a fake smile and laugh along. Afterall, Ms. Meier, Newkirk and Mr. Hershaft all have one goal: to make sure that the bright light of family farming is extinguished.

It’s disturbing to me that I’ve now attended two conferences dedicated to bringing about the end of an industry, and a community; conferences dedicated to destroying a way of life their speakers, attendees and sponsors have never experienced nor attempted to understand.

And personally, I don’t find that very funny.