Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > United States
Undercover video reportedly shows abuse at Idaho dairy

October 10, 2012

Angela Bowman, Staff Writer

full story and comments:

An undercover video that purports to show animal cruelty at an Idaho dairy has surfaced.

And, three former workers at the dairy have been charged with animal cruelty. Twin Falls County prosecutor Grant Loebs said he filed misdemeanor animal cruelty charges against Jesus Garza, Joe Acensio and Javier Victor Rojas Loayza after an investigation that was prompted by the video, The Associated Press reported. Read "Idaho dairy workers charged with animal cruelty."

The incidents apparently occurred at Bettencourt Dairies' Dry Creek Dairy facility near Hansen, Idaho.

In a news release available on their web site, Bettencourt Dairies owners Luis and Sharon Bettencourt said that they were appalled by the images depicted in the video and have taken swift and decisive steps to address the situation, including firing five employees identified in the video. Read the release.

Luis Bettencourt elaborated on the dairy's efforts to ensure that the actions and behavior shown are not repeated during an interview with The Associated Press.

"And we also showed the video to all the rest of the employees in our dairies, all 500 employees, and they had to sign a deal that said they understand that there's zero tolerance for animal abuse in our dairies," he said. "We've been in business 30 years and we've never had this happen before. We're all devastated here."

Also read "Idaho dairy operator fires workers after video of animal abuse surfaces."

A panel of farm animal care specialists, including Temple Grandin, Candace Croney, and Jim Reynolds, analyzed the video and concluded that the practices seen in the footage were "unacceptable and clearly abusive." Click here to read their comments.

The animal-rights group, Mercy For Animals, publicly release footage from the video on Wednesday. The group is now urging Burger King and other companies to end its supplier relationship with Bettencourt Dairies. Read the Mercy For Animals news release.

In the wake of the video's release, Wendy's International, Inc. announced in a statement on Wednesday that it has instructed one of its suppliers to "disassociate with Bettencourt immediately," adding it maintains stringent animal-welfare standards with its suppliers. Read more from The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch.

Industry groups have also responded to the group's video. Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, said in a statement that the video "is deeply disturbing and depicts practices by individuals that are absolutely unacceptable. Idaho's dairy farmers, and those across the rest of the country, do not countenance this type of treatment. The dairy industry takes claims about animal mistreatment very seriously."

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