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April 2019: COK’s Dairy Exposé Reveals Shocking Nightmare Behind Nestlé
Working inside Martin Farms, a Pennsylvania dairy factory farm, COK’s investigator documented senseless and violent abuse of mother cows and their defenseless calves. This is some of the worst abuse we’ve ever documented, and yet it also shows practices representative of what life is like for animals on a typical dairy farm.
In this case, COK’s investigator followed a truck from this factory farm to an ice cream facility, owned by the world’s largest dairy company: Nestlé, the maker of ice cream brands including Dreyer’s, Edy’s, and Häagen-Dazs.
Nestlé’s motto is “Good food, Good life,” but our video shows life is anything but “good” for cows and calves suffering for milk used in the company’s ice creams. There is cruelty in every scoop of ice cream: What many see as a sweet treat is, in reality, a product of suffering and exploitation in the cold, cruel dairy industry.
Nestlé Responds: When alerted to our video and documented abuse, Nestlé responded that it immediately severed ties with Martin Farms. This small step, however, fails to address the systemic nature of the issues COK’s investigation uncovered. As a leader in the food industry, Nestlé can — and should — take proactive steps that include eliminating some of the most egregious abuses within its supply chain, including the cruel removal of calves’ horns and tissue, and going even further to offer plant-based options to meet the growing consumer demand.
Martin Farms Responds: In the wake of this news story being released, Martin Farms issued a statement on April 3 claiming “We do not tolerate any animal mistreatment” and “we are shocked that these incidents took place on our farm.” The company states that “All employees shown in the video mishandling animals…have been terminated.” However, like’s Nestlé’s response, this too fails to address the toxic culture of abuse that stems from poor management and leadership. Our video captures the systemic nature of abuse that happens when the farm thought no one was watching, including a supervisor who was alerted to the abuse by our investigator but was actually a primary perpetrator, setting an accepted tone of violence at the farm.
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COK’s shocking video reveals:
- “Downed” cows, unable to walk or stand, hoisted by their hips with metal clamps, to be moved or chained and dragged by tractor
- A manager shooting a “downed” cow in the head, who remains conscious for almost a minute before she’s finally shot for the last time
- Farm manager sadistically stabbing a cow with a sharp instrument in a botched attempt to supposedly treat a stomach ailment. The cow bleeds heavily and receives no pain relief or veterinary care.
- “Downed” cows abused, killed, and butchered on site, the meat distributed to workers in garbage bags
- Workers spraying cows in the face with scalding hot water to force them to move faster
- A cow with a teat that had been sliced off, bleeding as she’s being milked
- Cows, many sick and injured, being hit, stomped on, or kicked by workers
- Cows suffering bloody, painful uterine prolapses and open sores denied vet care
Cruelty is Standard
In addition to these heartbreaking acts of violence, COK’s video reveals the dark truth of a standard industry practices. After they’re taken away from their mothers, baby calves at Martin Farms, and at 94% of U.S. dairies, endure hot irons burned into their flesh and bone to permanently destroy horns and growth tissue. Calves here are tied up as a red-hot iron is pressed down on the sensitive nerves in their heads for several agonizing minutes — without any pain relief.
Even worse, this barbaric practice is completely unnecessary. The dairy industry could simply choose cows who genetically do not grow horns, yet only 2% of the farms currently do this. Both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners recommend that farmers breed cows with hornless bulls in order to eliminate the need to remove calves’ horns.
That’s why we’re demanding that Nestlé end this cruel practice of horn removal once and for all, as well as urging the corporation to shift toward more vegan products.
The Hard-to-Swallow Truth About Milk
The dairy industry wants you to believe that milk comes from happy cows. But COK’s investigations show the heartbreaking reality of dairy.
“Behind every sip of milk or scoop of ice cream that comes from a cow, there is unacceptable abuse and exploitation,” said Cheryl Leahy, General Counsel, Compassion Over Killing. “We’re calling for criminal prosecution for the most egregious cruelty in this case, but this investigation also shows practices that are commonplace throughout the dairy industry yet so severely abusive that they’d result in criminal cruelty charges if inflicted on the dogs and cats in our homes.”
“As a mother myself, I often think about this violence and the shattering of the mother-infant bond the dairy industry relies upon to exist.” – Cheryl Leahy, Compassion Over Killing
Dairy is a continuous, destructive cycle for female cows. Like all mammals, in order to produce milk, a cow must have recently given birth. Mother cows are tormented as their calves are separated from them almost immediately, and the milk meant for their babies is instead taken away and sold to humans. Then, she is re-impregnated and forced to repeat the process each year to keep producing often unnatural amounts of milked.
Female babies will likely enter the same cruel cycle as their moms, while most males will be confined to tiny crates or pens, then sold for veal or beef.
Forced to live in their own manure and abused daily, the dairy cows’ natural lifespan of 20 years is cut extremely short, as they succumb to disease and the exhausting toll dairy production takes on their bodies. The average dairy cow is killed for beef, largely low-grade meat like hamburger, at just five years of age.
You can help end this cycle of cruelty once and for all simply by choosing to remove your support from this industry.
Take action today by taking dairy products out of your diet. Instead, choose from a wide range of compassionate, healthy, and sustainable options: You’ll find dairy-free milk, ice cream, yogurt, and cheese at most mainstream grocery stores. These plant-based products are made from soy, almonds, cashews, flax, oats, and other milks.
Vote against cruelty at the grocery store, then exercise your voice and help us expose the dairy industry for what it really is. Sign and share our petition, and share this eye-opening video today to inspire others to ditch dairy.
Support Our Undercover Heroes and Double your Impact
Compassion Over Killing is one of few organizations dedicated to consistently shining the light of truth and justice on the dark cruelties hidden inside factory farms. The profit-driven animal agriculture industry is extremely powerful and will do anything to stop our cameras from rolling.
Undercover investigators provide our only window to the hidden horrors that occur on factory farms like this one, and investigations are expensive for a non-profit organization. That’s why we need your support. In a world where corporations exploiting animals and humans alike hold all the resources and influence, you can fight back with your dollars. Your one-time or monthly contribution will support our brave investigators and groundbreaking legal work.
Thanks to the generosity of the Rena Roseman Memorial Fund, your gift today will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $75,000!
Thank you for taking action for animals. Donate today.