An animal protection agency has accused a major Nebraska dairy facility of ‘shocking’ neglect and cruelty to calves.
Animal Equality filmed its investigation at at Summit Calf Ranch, a facility housing 11,000 calves, which is owned by Tuls Dairy.
According to the group, its footage reveals ‘the prolonged agony of dozens of calves’, who are aged between one and 150 days old. Some animals froze to death, several calves suffered from their hooves being separated from their legs as a result of exposure. Plant Based News felt some of the images were too distressing to publish.
According to Animal Equality’s anonymous undercover investigator: “My supervisor asked me to feed the calf with the frozen feet. The hooves are now almost completely severed and you can see the bone. [He] mostly stays on the ground, but once or twice [he] tries to stand which causes the wounds to bleed.”
In addition to exposure, footage captured by the organization reveals workers ‘shoving, jabbing and hitting calves with sorting sticks and hut rods’, sick cows, left with dead cows, receiving no veterinary care, disbudding of calves using hot irons, and the manager’s dog biting calves.
GRAPHIC: Footage from the abuse
‘Strong commitment to animal care’
In an official statement, Tuls Dairies owner Todd Tuls, said the company has a ‘strong commitment to animal care’.
“This past winter presented farmers with some of the most challenging weather conditions faced in decades. The prolonged, extreme cold temperatures presented unprecedented demands on normal operations.” he added”
“In spite of these difficult circumstances, this video shows our workers handling animals in a way that indicates they were attentive to their needs and following proper guidelines.”
‘Shoocking lack of care’
“Our investigation into Summit Calf Ranch revealed a shocking lack of meaningful care provided to baby calves,” Sean Thomas, International Director of Investigations for Animal Equality, said in a statement sent to PBN.
“We documented sick newborns surrounded by their already dead pen mates in an area referred to as the ‘hospital’ where they were left to suffer for days and in many cases finally die.”
This latest investigation follows a major expose of Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana – which has been described as the ‘Disneyland of agricultural tourism’ – and offers tours of its pastures, museum, restaurant, and hotel. It claims it provides ‘complete transparency into the everyday operations of a dairy farm’.
Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) took the undercover footage which shows workers kicking, pushing, and slamming newborn calves to the ground because they did not nurse from the artificial rubber nipple – preferring to suckle on workers’ fingers instead.
Calves, who were kept in small pens, were not given adequate nutrition or hydration, with some dying as a result. The video also shows employees hitting, stabbing, and calves with metal bars and branding irons, as well as sitting on them – which was often too much weight for the young calves to bear. Workers, managers, and foremen were observed joking as they sat on calves, and the animals’ legs buckled under the weight.
One worker in the video has been arrested and released under bail.