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.
“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.”
Compassion Over Killing
Martin Farms Dairy Investigation Photos
• April 4, 2019 – PennLive: “Pa. dairy farm ‘appalled’ by gruesome video showing workers abusing cows”
• April 5, 2019 – ABC7 in Harrisburg: “Police investigating cruelty at Martin Farms”
• April 5, 2019 – PennLive: “Central PA farm retraining employees in wake of animal abuse allegations”
• April 5, 2019 – Fox43 in Harrisburg: “Video shows alleged abuse happening at Franklin County farm, PA State Police investigating”
• April 5, 2019 – PennLive: “State police investigating reported animal cruelty at Central PA farm”
• April 6, 2019 – PennLive: “Group behind PA farm abuse video hopes for viral coverage in crusade for animal rights”
• April 8, 2019 – Plant Based News: “Dairy Exposé Reveals Abuse On Farm Supplying Nestlé”
• April 8, 2019 – Public Opinion: “State police investigating Franklin County dairy farm accused of abusing cows”
• April 9, 2019 – Netzfrauen: “Nestlé’s dairy company charged with animal abuse; Cows are beaten, kicked, tortured – Nestlé dairy supplier accused of animal abuse; cows being punched, kicked, stomped on”
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.”
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.
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.
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