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No Justice for Cows in Pennsylvania

Written by PETA | March 19, 2010

Despite overwhelmingly sad video and photographic evidence of lame, thin, and downed cows left to suffer and die and a cow whose teat was banded and left to decay and fall off—not to mention expert testimony that all this constituted cruelty—a judge whose courtroom was packed with dairy farmers today found the owners of Reitz Dairy, a filthy Land O’Lakes supplier in Pennsylvania that PETA investigated last year, not guilty.


Conditions like these were defended as “standard dairy practice”!
Reitz Dairy


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PETA’s investigator found cows on this factory dairy farm collapsed, lame, and struggling to hobble through a deep soup of feces and urine in the perpetually filthy conditions. Cows suffering from painful infections and severe lameness were deprived of even basic care; dying cows were not even put out of their misery. PETA’s video shows injured cows as they are kicked, shocked with a high-voltage electric prod, and jabbed along the spine with the open blade of a pocket knife.

A little pat of butter? PETA has brought the abysmal conditions on this farm to Land O’Lakes’ attention, but the company is doing nothing to prevent such abuse and neglect on its suppliers’ farms and continues to buy from Reitz Dairy.

Cows are great mothers, loyal herd members, wise, and gentle. Studies show that they will sacrifice their own interests for the benefit of the group and that they communicate in subtle ways with facial expressions that we can’t even register. When they figure out a puzzle, such as how to open a tricky gate, they have a “eureka moment” and jump for joy.

Because cows cannot rely on the law to protect them, it’s up to every concerned person to take a stand—to vote against cruelty with our shopping cart. As this case has vividly demonstrated, milk, cheese, and butter do not come from “happy cows” who frolic in lush green pastures. They come from miserable cows confined to crowded, muck-filled barns—cows who are forcibly impregnated, only to have their newborns yanked away from them so that humans can drink the milk that nature intended for their calves.

That’s why we must continue to pressure Land O’Lakes to, at the very least, implement the 12-point animal-welfare program that PETA has recommended. And each one of us needs to “file charges” against factory farms every time we shop by refusing to purchase their ill-gotten products.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Ellie says:

    Write some letters to management at Land O Lakes and Reitz Dairy and tell them that you are telling everyone you know not to buy Land O Lakes products. I am telling everyone I know about this. Hit them in the pocketbook.

  • Ms Vishwa says:

    this is really gross. People in India worship them while they are brutally murdered otherwise.

  • K. Mouradjian says:

    I sincerely hope that an appeal was filed it is crucial for the appellate court to carefully review the case to either overturn the decision or remand it back to the lower court.

  • angela says:

    I can’t believe that the person that is supposed to make sure justice is served let this guy go free. How can a judge say no harm was done in this case? He needs a brain scan. I was a big meat eater all my life turning 37 tomorrow. I want to lose weight so I went to the book store for a book to help. I picked what was on the display table at the front of the store. None helped until I read the last one which is called ‘Skinny B’. It is educational in many ways especially the chapter on meat slaughter. Then I came to the PETA site. It confirmed what I read in the book. I am absolutely disgusted. I am not saying that eating meat is wrong but I never thought about how the slaughter was done. I just expected it to be humane. So now I choose not to eat meat to save some animals from the torture they go through. One of the statistics in the book says that if the average American became vegan it would save 90some animals a year. I thougt I’d cut down my meat intake to save at least half that amount. But even though I was eating so bad I found it easy to stop meat altogether for the animals. I tried diets for years that didn’t do a thing because I couldn’t stay on them. I figure it’s because I was doing it for myself. So to the ones above saying it’s not all farms that are like this fine. Eat your meat and butter if you have to but do it selectively. Don’t eat Land O’Lakes we see where their milk comes from. Don’t support the farms that are like the one we are talking about. By the way I have lost some weight but the best thing is that I feel physically better.

  • J.G. Harder says:

    Well what you see on the videos I have seen it before. In a midday also for children to be seen Lambs were hung on their hind legs on a transport rail like chickens and transported to a turning big knife to cut their throats and kept hanging to blead out. Next was a turning mill where cows were driven in 4 cows at a time and were killed? by a turning knife. The cows not sedated could see what was going on with the cow before them. Then they were thrown out with their throats cut but not dead. The people handling them were kicking and trapping them even hopping on them trying to get the blood out. The cows were still living and it took app. 5 minutes to die. The kids who were seeing this has 2 options. First to be handled by a therapist to try to get images they have seen go away knightmares or will be good animal welfare people. So it is not only in the States you could see the abuses. It is a wordly problem what will never be wiped out because there are a lot of people who does not care if animals are suffering. For christians not to comprehend!

  • Kim says:

    This is horrible. The system is corrupt. I can’t believe that people just don’t care but I’ve been an animal rights activist and PETA member for 20 years and very little has changed. Some things even get worse. The human race is very cruel. They act like they are the only species on earth that matter.

  • Theresa says:

    Wow I can’t believe that this company was found “not guilty”. This brings me great sadness. It’s a gross shame what humans can do. The horrible senseless acts. This makes me downright sick. I think this judge will get what’s coming to him. Just horrible! What is wrong with this world?

  • Laura says:

    I’ve just watched the video and i cannot stop wondering one thing Who the hell do we think we are to commit these kind of atrocities againts animals ? People use to claim we are “reasonable beings” and that is what makes us different from the rest of living beings… Well it’s clear that’s not necessarily a quality we can presume of.

  • paula says:

    its horrible….

  • Dean Ween says:

    Super Colleen can do. I live close to Canada and am headed there soon in fact. Where’s your farm my friend? I’d love to come visit and am sure others would as well.

  • Colleen says:

    Dean perhaps you should go to Canada we much more accommodating here.

  • Steven says:

    Unfortunately a politician can be convinced to overlook cruelty and abuse by a few votes and campaign contributions even more easily than a corporation justifies interminable suffering to save a few cents on a $10 pack of meat.

  • Helen says:

    What can we do to end this?

  • Kathy says:

    I wrote Land O Lakes about this and here is their response back to me Thank you for visiting the Land O’Lakes Web Site and taking the time to contact us. Land O’Lakes has confirmed that a Land O’Lakes member who was named in a private complaint of animal cruelty has been found not guilty on all counts by a Magisterial District Judge in Pennsylvania. This ruling confirms the findings of four independent veterinarians which Land O’Lakes sent to the farm to conduct an evaluation immediately after the claims were made in the fall of 2009. The veterinarians reported that the cows on the farm were in good health and that no evidence of animal mistreatment was found. Although Land O’Lakes does not own cows our milk supply comes from members who are independent owners and operators of dairy farms we take providing highquality animal care very seriously. We are gratified that the court has confirmed our own findings and Land O’Lakes continues its strong and ongoing commitment to maintaining the highest standards in animal care. To promote this commitment throughout the dairy industry Land O’Lakes has been actively involved in developing national animal care guidelines over the past two to three years. The most comprehensive initiative is the Farmers Assuring Responsible Management or FARM program a national animal care initiative launched last fall by the National Milk Producers Federation NMPF and Dairy Management lnc. DMI. Land O’Lakes is supportive of the FARM guidelines and is working to implement them throughout the Land OLakes system. The FARM program provides consistent principles that promote the wellbeing of animals on the farm and will include thirdparty verification to independently confirm that dairy producers are using the best practices in animal care. For more on the FARM program please link to Please let us know if we can be of assistance in the future. If you need to respond to this email please use the “Reply” button. Sincerely Land O’Lakes Consumer Affairs Case 751731 Crazy huh?

  • lisa says:

    Im lost for words i dont know what to say how a judge can find them not guilty is unbelievable after seeing all the evidence did he actually sit and watch the video? how any human being can sit and watch the video then turn round and say not guilty beggers to belief he’s obviously a very cold heartless person or a very corrupt paid off judge what sort of example is he sending out to our children and future generations? that is ok to abuse animals is this way? He should be sruck off and named and shamed.

  • Kathy says:

    LOL Dean..

  • chester says:

    Go PETA try to punish those cruel farmers who put those poor animals through so much.

  • bob says:

    Go PETA the government should really shut this farm down. Poor animals should really be treated right.

  • Dean Ween says:

    Colleenthat’s a great idea my friend and thanks for the offer. I’ve tried to visit dozens of dairy and other sites over the years and never been welcomed in. Please let us know where you farm so those of us interested in visiting can come see your operation.

  • Jay says:

    Where are the green pastures for the cows to walk on???????

  • Carl says:

    I just tried “almond milk” and it was better than bovine milk! Now to see if it cooks the same.

  • Joe says:

    So how does going vegan somehow stop the “atrocities” that the cows experience?

  • ella says:

    heart breaking c i would rather go without milk to save these cows but this video needs more publicity.

  • Frank says:

    Ok I agree that the cows in the picture and on that video are in a rather bad setting on that farm. However it shows ONE farm that has poor conditions. In most places the conditions are completely sanitary. I live on a farm myself and the cows that we have free graze over more than 500 acres of land. Now just because one farm is like this does not mean people should just turn vegan. Humans are not meant to be vegan. And no eating meat does not make you murderers or fat. Sweets and fast food make you fat and that is almost 99.9 of the time a personal choice so honestly knock it off with constantly dissing every farm that there is out there.

  • Susan T says:

    Colleen what animal with the exception of a cat occasionally actually drinks milk as an adult? Why do we do this? This farm doesn’t represent the norm you say. Perhaps but how do you justify the cruel removal of “bob” calves from their mothers shortly after they’re born and the insanity of killing them as babies for their nice pink flesh? We dote on children coo and make all over infants but never bat an eyelash as we sit down to a plate of roasted baby cow? My God!! Do we ever consider our actions? Really really think about what that slab of flesh on our plates represents? And I keep hearing that question reverberate in my ears….What if we’ve been doing this all wrong since time began? Think about it. Think!!!!

  • Rebekah says:

    This is so wrong. Animals have rights too . This is why everyone should not eat meat…if you need protein eat pills that give it to you or protein bars.Poor animasl have to loose their lifes so people can enjoy a mere few minutes on intaking nasty dead animals that make you fat and murders.

  • Rosie says:

    I have been watching this case for a while now because I am from Pennsylvania! I am so ashamed that I even live here! Apart of me would love to find them and do to them as they do to them poor animals! We need better laws to protect them! I am still praying that it will change!