Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national dairy marketing cooperative that serves and is owned by more than 13,000 members on nearly 8,000 farms in 48 states, is calling out animal rights group Compassion Over Killing (COK) after it received notification that undercover video footage of a member farm in Pennsylvania will be released this week.
While one farm employee has been fired from the farm, DFA said a third-party audit showed no evidence of abuse at the farm and shamed the activist group for recording the video instead of reporting the alleged mistreatment to a manager. Additionally, DFA said the video to be released is “a highly edited” version of the original footage.
“Recently, we learned that activist group Compassion Over Killing (COK) reported allegations of animal mistreatment at a Dairy Farmers of America member farm in Pennsylvania. DFA, the dairy industry and our individual farm owners do not tolerate abuse of any kind,” DFA said in a statement. “Immediately upon learning about this allegation, we initiated a third-party audit to investigate the claim. No evidence of abuse or mistreatment was found in this audit.”
DFA said the actions, captured on video by the undercover COK activist, were concerning. “An employee was terminated by the farm owner, and we worked with authorities in filing charges against him,” the co-op said.
DFA said the individual’s actions were not representative of the farm’s practices or practices on dairies in general. “Despite that, today, long after the undercover activist left the farm and weeks after the initial allegation, COK began sharing a highly edited version of this video. In addition, Dairy Farmers of America executives received a letter from COK requesting an open dialogue,” it added.
DFA noted that, as an organization and industry that has invested considerable resources in animal welfare, it welcomes the opportunity for dialogue with any organization that has the best interests of the animals at heart, but it questions the agenda of organizations like COK.
“Rather than work with us, they continue to use deceptive practices to go undercover recording footage over a period of months that is then used to create highly edited videos that distort what truly happens on America’s dairy farms,” DFA said. “Anyone who truly cares about animals would not go undercover and observe, incite or fail to immediately report incidents of abuse. We encourage anyone who suspects animal abuse on our dairies to report — not record — that abuse.”