Stephen Larson, a lawyer at the Dick Van Dam dairy, described the images as being staged or ripped out of context. Earlier this month, a judge dismissed a lawsuit against the farm filed by another animal rights organization, saying it had no status. “The accusation that they abused their cows is something that cuts the Van Dam family very deeply, because the truth is that they have cared for and cared for all their cows for generations,” said Mr. Larson said.
Experts in the dairy industry and farmers who viewed the footage were disgusted, saying the abuse was not the norm. “These videos make every dairy farmer and veterinarian sick to their stomachs because we know that the vast majority of farmers will never do such good to their cows,” said Dr. Carie Telgen, president of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, said.
The effort to stop Americans from dairy products is gaining ground at a time when many of the country’s farms are struggling to make a profit. Milk consumption has fallen by 40 percent since 1975, a trend that is accelerating as more people embrace oatmeal and almond milk. According to the Department of Agriculture, over the past decade, 20,000 dairy farms have gone out of business, representing a 30 percent decline. And the coronavirus pandemic has forced some producers to dump unsold milk down the drain as demand for school lunch programs and restaurants has dried up.
During his speech at the Oscars for Best Actor in February last year, Joaquin Phoenix drew an exciting round of applause when he urged viewers to reject dairy products.
“We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow and when she gives birth, we steal her baby, even though her cry of anxiety is unmistakable,” he said, his voice throbbing with emotion. “And then we take her milk meant for the calf, and put it in our coffee and cereal.”
The National Milk Producers Federation, which represents most of the 35,000 dairy farmers in the country, has tried to curb the sour public sentiment by promoting better animal welfare among its members. This means that we need to encourage more frequent visits to veterinarians, which requires low-wage workers to undergo regular training in handling human cows, and phasing out the coupling of tails – the ubiquitous use to remove a cowtail.
“I do not think you will find farmers there who are not trying their best to improve the care and welfare of their animals,” said Emily Yeiser Stepp, who runs the federation’s 12-year-old animal care initiative. “That said, we can not be deaf to consumers’ values. We need to do better and give them a reason to stay in the Milky Way. ‘