Expert Statements on Dairy Investigation

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, including pigs. Dr. Buyukmihci states:

"I was shocked by the careless, casual and callous behavior of the workers. Without exception, the workers appeared to be completely oblivious to the brutalization to which they were subjecting the piglets. There clearly was no concern for the welfare or well-being of the piglets."

"Castrating or cutting off of the tails in this fashion causes excruciating pain. The pain of castration is intense regardless of the age at which it is done ... Regardless of any arguments to the contrary, to castrate or cut off tails without the use of anesthetic is cruel and is not appropriate medically."

"Tail docking is completely unnecessary and the piglets at this facility had to endure the pain of this procedure and its long-term effects for no defensible reason."

"A worker was attempting to kill an adult pig by application of what is known as a captive bolt...His first attempt only moderately injured the pig and she screamed and was clearly in pain ... the worker then attempted a second time to apply the captive bolt. Although this attempt knocked down the pig, she was not killed nor was she even properly stunned and struggled on the floor, making coordinated paddling movements [emphasis in original]. Regardless whether she was mortally wounded, it is unquestionable that she was in pain and sufficiently conscious to perceive this as evidenced by her behavior. "

"I can state unequivocally that the pigs in this facility suffered immensely...These people showed complete disregard for the welfare or well-being of the pigs. To the contrary, they often appeared to be deriving enjoyment from their brutal treatment of the pigs, making their actions cruel by any definition of the word."

 

Bernard Rollin, PhD

Dr. Rollin is the Distinguished Professor of Animal Science 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 examining confined animal feeding operations and is an expert witness on animal welfare issues in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Rollin states:

"The pig [suffering a seizure] in the stall unattended is nightmarish, as is the sloppy use of the captive bolt [gun]."

"The gas 'euthanasia' using CO2 is widespread in the industry. It is horrendous, as the animals suffocate and experience major fear and distress."

"The untreated injuries plentifully shown in the video are also unacceptable."

"Unfortunately, while a significant amount of the content is standard industry practice, much of that is ultimately unacceptable, for example knife-castrating baby piglets without anesthesia or analgesia, a practice that has been banned in some parts of Europe. "

"In sum, these videos depict poor management and unacceptable inattention to animal suffering."

 

Temple Grandin, PhD, PAS

Dr. Grandin is perhaps 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 states:

"Picking piglets up by the ears and throwing them is not acceptable and needs to be corrected."

"The WORST thing shown on the video was a prolapse that went untreated for 13 days [emphasis in original]. This is abusive animal neglect. There were also many other neglected lesions and injuries."

"[T]he stalls were too narrow for many of the sows and the animals had many injuries from the equipment."

"Many animals needed medical attention."

 

Holly Cheever, DVM

Dr. Cheever graduated first in her class from Cornell's School of Veterinary Medicine, and she assists state law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cruelty to animals, including farmed animals. Her home farm is a small sanctuary for abused animals recovered from such cases. Dr. Cheever states:

"The whole process - to be grabbed by their sensitive ears, then thrown into an airborne arc, and then dashed into the transport container, is terrifying to any mammal, and their screams of fear and pain exemplify this distress."

"This section of the footage shows a large number of animals with a series of mild to severe injuries, some of which are life-threatening, all of which are badly infected. The first footage shows a mature pig with either a rectal or a uterine prolapse (the image is slightly out of focusóby the anatomical position, I believe it to be rectal)...The prolapsed tissue becomes progressively hemorrhagic, engorged, necrotic, and infected. My experience in treating these lesions is that they are extremely painful to the animal, and also extremely debilitating, proving fatal if not treated. There is no evidence that this pig is receiving any medical care."

"The aisles between the gestation crates are filled with feces, indicating the air that these sows are exposed to constantly must be foul and irritating to their sensitive and delicate ocular and respiratory tissues."

"[A]ble neither to make herself comfortable nor to create the nests that a sow would naturally build for her litter, she lies on an unbedded slatted floor and cannot even touch her progeny unless one comes close to her head. Sows are fiercely maternal and would normally be nuzzling and licking their offspring, arranging them at their teats."

"The inhalation of gas is a very irritating sensation in the respiratory tree, i.e. it is painful as well as terrifying to experience this suffocation without being fully killed."

 

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. Dr. Teachout states:

"There is nothing gentle, respectful, or natural about the way these piglets are handled, and there is no evident regard for their safety...This manner of handling creates fear, panic, physical discomfort, and injury. It also induces anxiety and alarm at the mere sight of a stockperson, leading to chronic stress."

"This facility's crude and uneducated manner of moving piglets creates very high stress levels, injuries, fear, and pain."

"Much fecal material is evident on the floors, on the pigs, and pigs are seen to be forced to lie in fecal contaminated areas raising the threat for disease and discomfort...Mammary glands are sometimes caked with fecal material. This contaminated environment threatens disease for the nursing piglets as well as mastitis for the sow."

"There are dead piglets in the farrowing crates, and one moribund piglet is captured on video in her last minutes of life. She is in trembling and in lateral recumbency, respirations are shallow and gasping, eye is swollen and shut. There is a large lesion on her face, and suggests that she is dying of sepsis. This piglet should never have been allowed to get to this point without medical intervention."

"A stockman is seen herding a sow with a large prolapse down an alleyway to her death. He whacks her with a large piece of plastic, and then kicks her hard in her side. This is pure animal abuse."

"The behavior of these stockpeople toward the pigs is atrocious, and only serves to keep the animals in a constant state of anxiety and stress. They are shockingly insensitive to animal distress and pain. "

"This entire operation deserves to be shut down."

 

Geoff Ball, DVM

Dr. Ball is a licensed veterinarian with 18 years of experience working with animals. As part of Dr. Ball's training he has studied pig farming and zoonotic disease. As a veterinarian, Dr. Ball's daily job involves evaluating animals for pain and stress in various situations. Dr Ball states:

"[Pigs] have been documented to have long term memory greater than three years, [and] the repetitive rough handling, painful procedures, and stampede type of transportation have great psychological impacts on these animals."

"To live life in such conditions would have to be unbearable. Employees are shown throwing piglets, swinging them into carts and stalls with no regard for injury or wellbeing of the animals."

"The transportation of the piglets shows no regard for stress and avoidance of injury."

"As for the handling of the sows, these animals are constantly berated by stressors. From gestation crates where they cannot even move or exhibit natural behavior, to farrowing pens where their piglets are grabbed from them screaming, to pens where the tattooing takes place, there is no break from affliction. For animals that remember each occurrence and can anticipate the next, the level of psychological stress has to be immeasurable."

"Employee neglect of animal welfare on this farm is horrific."

 

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