Undercover Investigator Goes Public to Reveal Animal Cruelty on California Dairy Farm

smcdonald Uncategorized 27 Comments

“Dead on arrival” dairy is failing cows–and failing with consumers

San Jacinto, CA October 8, 2020 — After a two-year career working undercover inside several factory farms, Animal Outlook investigator Erin Wing now reveals her identity, stepping out of the shadows to shine a light on the stomach-churning horrors she witnessed at her most recent — and last — investigation at Dick Van Dam Dairy, a factory farm in Southern California. The hard-hitting new video illuminates the all-too-common cruelty found on this facility that supplies brands owned by Dean Foods, which recently filed for bankruptcy.

Investigators followed a truck from the facility to a stockyard, and then another truck from the stockyard to American Beef Packers (ABP), the site of the former Westland/Hallmark Beef Packing plant that closed down after issuing a massive beef recall following a 2008 undercover investigation. ABP currently sells beef to the federal government for its National School Lunch Program.

As caught on hidden camera, this milk (and the beef resulting from “spent” or “downer” dairy cows), is produced in remarkably cruel ways, including violence that shocked even our experienced investigator: 

  • Injured or downed cows being lifted over a wall and dragged by chains and tractors using a painful “hip clamp” 
  • Cows being violently kicked, jabbed and shocked by workers and a farm manager
  • Squalid conditions, including calves covered in flies and left to languish in the mud
  • Sick cows producing blood-tinged pink milk, and thick milk workers referred to as “cheese”
  • Lack of euthanasia or veterinary care — sick cows were left to slowly die
  • High mortality rates including a stillborn calf being painfully pulled from his mother’s body. 

“I saw abuse and neglect every single day at this farm,” said Erin Wing, who investigated Dick Van Dam Dairy — her last undercover investigation before choosing to leave the field. “I feel a special bond toward cows now because of it, and it will always stay with me. A part of me will always be with them as well.”

Wing has conducted multiple other Animal Outlook investigations, including a 2019 investigation of a dairy factory farm. In the aftermath of that investigation, Nestlé dropped the farm and added more vegan options. She also conducted the nation’s first-ever investigation of a salmon factory farm.

Animal Outlook submitted investigative materials to county law enforcement agencies asserting that dozens of criminal charges are warranted against both the farm’s owner and workers for violation of California’s progressive animal welfare laws.  Despite our overwhelming video evidence depicting dozens of apparent violations of California’s laws against animal cruelty and neglect, law enforcement declined to prosecute or provide any explanation for their failure to do so. But we’re not giving up and continue to explore other avenues for justice for these animals.And after reviewing the investigation, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit against Dick Van Dam Dairy and the individuals caught on camera for violating state and local animal cruelty laws.

This shocking footage underscores the urgency to end this inherently cruel industry once and for all. We hope that by making this investigation public, consumers will realize their own power to decide to turn to the dairy industry and say, “enough is enough.” 

For investigative footage, please visit: animaloutlook.org/deathofdairy

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Animal Outlook is a nonprofit animal protection organization working to end the abuse of farmed animals through undercover investigations, litigation, corporate outreach, education and other advocacy programs. https://animaloutlook.org/

Comments 27

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    Looking at the aerial photos of that dairy there isn’t anything green enough to be considered a pasture within miles of there. Just sun baked dry lots with minimal shelter. Certainly nothing that would make a cow happy. The large MEGA dairies have done immeasurable damage to family farms over the last couple of decades. They are also much wealthier then the average American tax payer. Further they employ relatively few American citizens as they employ a largely foreign work force. It would be extremely unfair and unethical to ask the US tax payer to bail them out or provide aid to them for any reason including the difficulties caused by COVID-19. Only a very few dairies would be inconvenienced by excluding the largest dairy farms while being much more fair with taxpayer money by extending aid to smaller dairy farmers. Less then 5% of dairy operations account for milk sales in excess of 60% of the U.S. 36.5 billion dollar unprocessed milk market. These 2000 large operations consisting of 1000 head plus herds have come into existence because of reasons and the use of hoards of cheaper migrant labor to displace and replace traditional small family farms. The largest operations at the very top make up less then 0.5 percent of dairy farms, milking in excess of 5000 head, and consisting of approximately a mere 200 operation yet take home in excess of 20 percent of all milk sales. and forced exit of small family farms.
    https://imgflip.com/gif/3vhcl5
    and
    https://www.nass.usda.gov/Publications/AgCensus/2017/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_US/st99_1_0017_0019.pdf

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    I applaud this young lady’s brave actions taken against this diary farms. All dairy farms should be closed if they continue to pursue such egregious behavior. I use as much diary free products as I can. I also contribute to the Animal Defense League and will continue to do so. I don’t know how these people sleep at night. Simply put money is the bottom line and they do not give a damn,.

    Thank you a million times over for producing and making public this video. The truth isn’t pretty!

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    This is the worst case of animal abuse and cruelty i have ever seen. I hope the family of this dairy farm has seen this. They had to know this was happening. This is something one cannot forget after seeing it. I was in a publix last night and started looking for Dick van dam dairy. I hope the offenders get what is coming. No mercy for these people.daw

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    Like all businesses, the dairy industry is a business. Every business optimizes profits by cutting costs and increasing sales. In a dairy business, the damaging results of cost cutting include unfair labor practices, environmental degradation and intense animal suffering. The brave undercover investigators alert consumers and regulators to these egregious conditions. We consumers are just as responsible for these travesties as are the legislators who accept industry money block regulations. We owe it to these undercover workers to stop looking the other way and to stop our participation (i.e. consumption!) of these products. As long as it’s profitable, it will continue! Look in the mirror and ask yourself if you really want to be an enabler ?
    Go dairy-free! You’ll be healthier for it!

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