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Highlights from Expert Statements

Independent, nationally and world-renowned academic and professional experts in farmed animal welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA's undercover investigation at Wiese Brothers Farms. Below are some of their statements about the abuses documented during MFA's investigation.

Temple Grandin, PhD, PAS

Dr. Grandin is considered the world's leading expert on farmed animal welfare. She is an associate professor of livestock behavior at Colorado State University and an animal welfare advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the meat industry. Dr. Grandin asserts:

Dragging live cows, and completely suspending them with the cow lift is severe animal abuse. The actions of these people went beyond rough handling and escalated to the level of cruelty. Kicking, beating, and hard whipping of downed cows is abusive.

 
Three experts co-authored a written statement, which reflects the consensus of the group. The authors are:

Bernard E. Rollin, PhD

Dr. Rollin is a distinguished professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University and is well-known internationally for his over 30 years of work in animal welfare. He was a major architect of federal laws protecting laboratory animals, and has written two books on farmed animal welfare. He serves on the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production and is an expert witness on animal welfare issues in the U.S. and abroad.

William Wailes, BS

Mr. Wailes is an extension dairy specialist for the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University. He is also an internationally renowned dairy expert, who has owned and been involved with dairy farms all of his life.

Terry Engle, PhD

Dr. Engle is an associate professor at Colorado State University and a beef cattle authority.

Drs. Rollin and Engle and Mr. Wailes state:

[The video depicts] horrifying and nightmarish abuses of dairy cattle by workers … cows are subjected to tail docking by banding, a process known to involve major pain and rejected by scientific and veterinary organizations all over the world as useless and abusive.

James Reynolds, DVM, MPVM

Dr. Reynolds is a professor of large animal medicine at the Western University College of Veterinary Medicine in Pomona, Calif. He received the American Veterinary Medical Association's Animal Welfare Award for 2007 and the American Association of Bovine Veterinarians' Award of Excellence for 2010. He is a diplomate of the newly formed American College of Animal Welfare (ACAW).

It is abuse to beat, kick or whip an animal that cannot get up. Hitting an animal in the face is particularly painful. The fact that cows in other scenes are beaten or kicked in the head and face demonstrates the workers have either learned or have been trained that this bothers the animals more than hitting them on other areas of their bodies.

Armaiti May, DVM, CVA

Dr. May is a practicing veterinarian with experience treating farmed animals. She holds a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from U.C. Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. May states:

In viewing this video I was extremely alarmed and horrified by numerous acts of cruelty inflicted on dairy cows. … This facility demonstrates horrific mistreatment and abuse of its cows, denial of veterinary care, unsanitary conditions, and poor oversight of its workers.

Lee Schrader, DVM

Dr. Schrader is a practicing veterinarian who obtained her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Schrader has over 35 years of experience working with animals, particularly animals with serious, difficult-to-diagnose disorders. Dr. Schrader states:

In summary, the handling of the cows and calves in this facility is vicious and brutal. The animals are beaten, kicked, stabbed and treated with extreme cruelty. … Multiple workers are involved in this cruelty, and others walk by while the cruelty is occurring, indicating a culture of brutality and apathy, probably condoned or ignored by supervisors.

Debra Teachout, DVM, MVSc

Dr. Teachout is a practicing veterinarian who graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She also holds an advanced degree in veterinary clinical pathology from Western College of Veterinary Medicine and has completed additional coursework in farmed animal welfare. Dr. Teachout states:

The video captures workers engaged in numerous serious acts of direct physical abuse and overt brutality—they whip, beat, slap, kick, stab and yell profanity at the cows. … There is a culture of serious neglect and mistreatment of animals in this facility, and the animals are suffering. This must stop.

Katherine van Ekert Onay, DVM

Dr. van Ekert Onay holds a degree in veterinary medicine from the University of Sydney, Australia. She is currently the president of The Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics and a member of The Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics, The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), and the AVA Animal Welfare Chapter. She has experience working with livestock, including investigations of farmed animal cruelty.

Workers were observed to hit, kick and whip downer cows on multiple occasions. Cows were hit in their cervical (neck), thoracic, lumbar, and head regions using hands, ropes, and a thin plastic pipe. All of these actions would have unnecessary and unjustifiable pain and suffering.

Nedim C. Buyukmihci, VMD

Dr. Buyukmihci is an emeritus professor of veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis. He has over 34 years of experience, much of it involving farmed animals. He writes:

There is no question in my mind, as a veterinarian experienced with farmed animals, including cows, that much of what was being done to the cows was inhumane, brutal and almost certainly a violation of the anti-cruelty statutes of many if not all states.

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