All these years later - she is still my guiding inspiration. My older
sister recently told me how saddened she was that her family at large seems not to care about
animal suffering. Would I gather together some internet posts in this regard to
give to them?
Yes, I was glad to do this, and I included in the packet the wonderful Pope
Francis encyclical - Laudato Si. Of course, since they are not practicing their
faith, this enclosure may not phase them at all- though even many non-Catholics have
rallied around its wonderful message of caring for our earth.
And lastly, I found 4 Compassionate Living (CL) magazines put out by Mercy
for Animals to include. I picked one up to reread, and it was like reading
the messages of farm animal cruelty for the first time, though over the years I have
read these same messages over and over again.
But indeed we have to read them again and again. The article that caused
me much pain was about what probably happens to cows daily in a typical dairy
farm in so many places in the U.S.
In the wake of the latest theatre shooting, President Obama recently said
that his greatest frustration is that we do not have common sense gun safety laws.
Yes, this is a legitimate concern, but shouldn't the terrible suffering of farm
animals in CAFOs (concentrated animal farm operations) where animals suffer day in and day
out be one as well? Yet, he never voices concern about this.
The farm being profiled was the Andrus Dairy Farm in Birnamwood,
Wisconsin. It is one of many similar farms that supply milk -in this case to the Ohio-based
Great Lakes Cheese company which is one of the largest cheese companies in the country.
In July of 2014, an MFA undercover investigator was rolling his hidden
camera to expose animal cruelty at this Andrus Dairy. In just one month- he had
amassed hours of footage so disturbing that it would later be broadcast on national
TV viewing across the country.
You might have seen it on TV. I missed it, but in it he tells us what he
saw -- workers kicking and punching cows- while others aimed high-pressure hoses at their
faces from a few feet away. What kind of people do things like this? What have
these unfortunate victims done to deserve this cruelty? I can't help thinking
that families are failing to bring up children with a moral compass of any kind.
Other employees chopped off cows sensitive tails with pruning shears
without any pain killers of any kind. Known as tail docking -they justify this cruelty
as a standard practice in the dairy industry. Why is this a standard practice? Why
can't the USDA change it? Why can't Congress change it? Sadly of course, I think I know
why --they could not care less. I have found that the USDA generally shows little
concern for farm animal suffering in its many phases.
And when the tortured animals were too injured or sick to move, workers
jumped on their backs and beat them with sticks. The investigator felt especially heartsick over the treatment of a cow he
named Ellie. These are his words:
"They had quite literally milked her for all she was worth...She was
tired and worn down by endless pregnancies, milkings, and daily beatings.....One day her
legs gave out--or she slipped on the slick, manure-coated floor...and she couldn't get
back up. The workers tied a rope around her neck, hooked the other end up to an
and dragged her across the ground."
Thank God, I don't drink milk. When the investigator reported this to
Alan Andrus, his wife, his daughter, and the farm supervisor- they could not care less and even felt
the worker should be more active and concerned about keeping the cows in tow. How could
these people be so hard-hearted?
And sadly, when the video was turned over to the district attorney-he did
not voice any concern over the callous and cruel treatment of the cows. He also sided
with the terrible status quo of the dairy industry which Andrus used to justify this
cruelty. What kind of country are we to allow this cruelty to be the status quo?
I thank that brave investigator. I thank MFA for getting it viewed on
national TV. How much good it did -- I truly wonder. People of compassion would have done
something. They could have written a letter to the editor. The could have complained
to both the President and the USDA. And the most concerned would have decided to give
up dairy. Sadly, I don't think too many acted on this cruelty- simply because too
many of us are of the "Let George do it" mentality.