Late last fall an undercover investigator with the D.C.-based animal advocacy group, Compassion Over Killing (COK) took the footage below at Martin Farms, over six weeks with a hidden camera. What they saw was cows being punched, kicked, stomped on and prodded in sensitive areas.
Among other disgusting things, the investigator captured:1
- medical procedures using hot irons and tools without any visible sedation
- cows unable to walk hoisted by their hips or feet and then dragged
- cows being sprayed with scalding water to make them move
- and a botched attempt at putting down a cow; a 2nd shot to the head needed because the first gunshot didn’t do the job
(IF you can stomach it, click here and see more footage caught by COK.)
“I just remember how heavy her breathing was after that and the scared look in her eyes. At what cost are we getting all these products and who is suffering these animals.”1
Martin Farms say they follow the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management or FARM Program, however, their Animal Care Reference Manual prohibits “willful mistreatment of animals”1 and “acts that maliciously cause pain, injury or suffering.”1
Dairy owner Joshua Martin claimed he was unaware of the abuse (which I find nearly impossible to believe) but said he was going to look into it. The scary thing? Martin Farms has been raising dairy cows for the past 45 years. We cannot imagine the hundreds if not thousands of cows that have been needlessly and cruelly abused.
According to The Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers, there have never been any animal welfare concerns at Martin Farms and the farm had never been placed on probation. Thankfully, the four employees identified in the video were immediately fired, as was the foreman.
And what about Nestlé, who Martin Farms supplies milk to? Kim Peddle Rguem, the
President of the Ice Cream Division at Nestlé USA said:
“We are deeply disturbed and shocked at the mistreatment of dairy cows shown in this video, and strongly condemn it. Consumers trust us to hold our suppliers to strong standards, and these actions violate that trust. As soon as we learned of this issue, we immediately stopped accepting milk from Martin Farm.
Our company is strongly committed to ensuring the highest possible level of farm animal welfare in our supply chain. In addition to complying with our own high standards, we insist that our dairy suppliers comply with the industry-wide Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) animal care program. When we find non-compliance, we take decisive action. This can include work to eliminate those practices, removing a farm from our supply, and suspending or ending the relationship with a supplier.”1
After COK obtained the video and viewed it, the organization filed an animal abuse complaint with the Pennsylvania State Police. The state police confirmed they were aware of the allegations of animal cruelty and that thus far, no charges have been filed in the ongoing investigation.