At a news conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, today, PETA unveiled footage from our five-month undercover investigation of a filthy factory dairy farm in Pennsylvania that supplies milk to St. Paul-based Land O’Lakes, the largest seller of branded butter in the U.S.
Our investigator documented abuse and neglect of cows and calves at the facility, including that cows who were in terrible pain and resisted standing were electro-shocked and jabbed with the blade of a pocket knife in an effort to force them to move and that sick and injured cows were left to languish—often so weak that they couldn’t even get out of their own waste—for days and even weeks without veterinary care. In one case, workers were told to wrap an elastic band around a cow’s gangrenous, infected teat in order to “amputate” it. The cow’s condition deteriorated for 11 days before she finally died.
It’s a violation of Pennsylvania law to neglect animals, deprive sick and injured animals of veterinary care, and deny animals clean and sanitary shelter. Charges against the farm’s owners have been approved and filed by a local magisterial district judge. The factory farmers are innocent until proven guilty, of course, but they would face up to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines if convicted.
We have also called on Land O’Lakes to buy milk only from farms that meet our 12-point animal welfare plan, which would prevent much of the suffering we documented at this farm.
For those of you who can’t stomach the thought of eating butter after watching that video, take a minute to tell Land O’Lakes to implement our 12-point animal welfare plan. Then check out one of the many vegan butter alternatives that are widely available. My personal favorite is Earth Balance margarine. It’s 100 percent vegan and free of trans fat, and it tastes even better than butter, at least to my taste buds. Best of all, it’s also 100 percent free of cruelty to cows and calves—as well as pus.