Keep US-Style Factory Farms Out of the UK

Posted by on October 13, 2010 | Permalink

With the increasing threat that US-style factory farms might come to the UK in the near future, it’s sobering to see what animal care standards are like on the other side of the Atlantic. Last year, PETA US undertook a lengthy undercover investigation of a Pennsylvania dairy factory farm that supplied one of the US’ biggest dairy companies, Land O’Lakes.

The investigation documented deplorable, filthy conditions for cows on the farm, such as pens that were filled with deep excrement (see video and photos) and cows who suffered from ailments and conditions so severe that they collapsed and became “downers” but were not put out of their misery or given veterinary care in a timely manner, if at all. The farm’s owner and one of his sons were caught on video electro-shocking cows who were in too much pain to stand up. One of the farmer’s sons kicked a cow and jabbed her with the blade of a pocket knife.

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PETA US’ investigation also revealed that cows and calves were kept in pens and barns whose floors were covered with deep excrement, which caused foot and hoof problems and fostered the spread of disease. Calves rescued from the farm had pneumonia, “manure scald”, ringworm, pinkeye and parasites. Some cows suffered respiratory distress and had pus-filled nasal discharge streaming down their faces. Abscesses were common on the farm – some of them burst and oozed pus, even as cows were being milked, as can be seen in the video.

World-renowned meat and dairy industry expert Dr Temple Grandin, after reviewing the footage, said, “The conditions are absolutely atrocious. … It was obvious that the place was seldom cleaned and … that many sick animals were not receiving veterinary treatment. … The dairy manager totally NEGLECTED his animals. … Many animals suffer greatly”. Incredibly, a court found the farmer not guilty of cruelty to animals.

Sadly, abuse and neglect of animals already occurs on UK farms, and farmed animals certainly aren’t immune. But this glimpse at the shocking abuse taking place on US factory farms is a reminder of how important it is that we fight plans to bring US factory-farming practices here.