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Land O’Lakes Supplier’s Owners Charged With Cruelty

Written by PETA | September 29, 2009

Today, PETA unveiled footage from our five-month undercover investigation of a filthy factory dairy farm in Pennsylvania that supplies milk to St. Paul–based Land O’Lakes, the largest seller of branded butter in the U.S.


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Our investigator documented abuse and neglect of cows and calves at the facility, including that cows who were in terrible pain and resisted standing were electro-shocked and jabbed with the blade of a pocket knife in an effort to force them to move and that sick and injured cows were left to languish—often so weak that they couldn’t even get out of their own waste—for days and even weeks without veterinary care. In one case, workers were told to wrap an elastic band around a cow’s gangrenous, infected teat in order to “amputate” it. The cow’s condition deteriorated for 11 days before she finally died.

It is a violation of Pennsylvania law to neglect animals, deprive sick and injured animals of veterinary care, and deny animals clean and sanitary shelter. Charges against the farm’s owners have been approved and filed by a local magisterial district judge. The factory farmers are innocent until proven guilty, of course, but they would face up to 90 days in jail and $750 in fines if convicted.

We have also called on Land O’Lakes to buy milk only from farms that meet our 12-point animal welfare plan, which would prevent much of the suffering we documented at this farm.

For those of you who can’t stomach the thought of eating butter after watching that video, take a minute to tell Land O’Lakes to implement our 12-point animal welfare plan. Then check out one of the many vegan butter alternatives that are widely available. My personal favorite is Earth Balance margarine. It’s 100 percent vegan and free of trans fat (and pus), and it tastes even better than butter. Best of all, it’s also 100 percent free of cruelty to cows and calves.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Marlinda Kepler says:

    This is the worse possible treatment that should never happen to any animal. I would like to take these workers and put them in their own fecal matter and leave them for days and days and once a day give them a good electrical shot. Let them feel see how they lose their thrive for survival. How could anyone treat an animal with so much hatred. If you don’t have any feelings for animals cow to pigs to any kind of animal you should not BE WORKING WITH THEM. THE FINES AND JAIL TIME IS NOT ENOUGH SHAME ON THE JUDGE AND COURTS!!!

  • Deborah Myers says:

    Thank you PETA for all your great work. This farm should be more than willing to be monitored in the future if it wants to stay in business. What other farms are out there that Land o Lakes uses? Thank you also for the link to products that are better choices.

  • Maureen Malek says:

    This type and any type for that matter of animal abuse makes me sick. This company needs the product from these cows to make money and they treat them like they’re nothing like they have no feelings or can’t feel pain. I will NEVER buy a Land O’ Lakes product EVER EVER again.

  • Tamra says:

    Don’t just get mad at the farmers….get mad at the people who continue to drink milk andor use dairy products. Where there is BIG demand and money there is supply through MASS production. Don’t just boycott their products challenge your thinking and beliefs about eating animals and using animal products. It’s unhealthy and nothing about it is natural……

  • Pamela Ernest says:

    These animals must think humans are monsters. And they would be right.

  • kj says:

    “90 days in jail and $750 in fines if convicted.” THATS IT??? Can we please write to someone so they face more serious consequences.

  • kayla says:

    This is truly horrible and inhumane but I have to thank PETA and their undercover agents tireless efforts to expose this disgust and lead to a prosecution. I can not imagine how strong those UCA have to be to tolerate seeing the immense suffering of these animals.. I don’t think I could handle it I’d truly break down and cry on the spot.

  • Helen Gaynor says:

    I also want to thank the person who filmed this. How hard it must have been. How brave to expose these cruel cruel people.

  • Pete says:

    I agree this is something no animal should suffer through but people need to remember this is not the norm. You can’t judge the industry as a whole on a few bad operations. My neighbor owns a family dairy and his cattle are treated exceptionally well. I have also worked in the dairy industry and know that most dairies are clean well run facilities with the animals health and comfort being a priority. Please don’t lump the majority of those doing it the right way with the few that don’t!

  • Anon says:

    Here is the news story this farm does look like this I can attest to it! httpnewsitem.comnewsexworkerpetacowsatshamokintownshipfarmneglected

  • Mike the Farmer says:

    I am a dairy farmer. My cows are my life. I assure your readers that not all farmers even come close to keeping their cattle in the condition that these people did. They do not need to produce food for anyone if they can do no better than this. It is outrageous and its hard for me and my fellow farmers to be bashed but I also know that these people should never have been allowed to ship milk under these conditions.

  • carla says:

    I am so tired of reading about God’s animals being abused like this. How the hell can someone have the nerve to treat animals like this? How do these so called men sleep at night??????? I became a vegetarian about 5 months ago after viewing how sickening human beings treat animals. I will NEVER eat meat again! We need tougher laws so that these kinds of things do not happen anymore.

  • simara delilah rose says:

    when I saw this video I immediately felt such sadness for these cows I can see in their eyes the fear and agony I can feel it to many of us are taught to feel and believe that cows and many animals are so different from us but they are not if you adopted a cow a pig or a chicken any animal really and if you spent time with them and gave them love and care you would grow to love them as you do your dog cat or any loved one including humans.. have some courage to watch this video these are real living intelligent caring beautiful beings being put through hell and turning away from this video wont make the reality and fact of these sick horrific unnecessary evils go away watch it so you can know the truth and than be aware so you can DO something against it and help stop this I have been a Vegan for a long time and known of animal cruelty animal cruelty NEVER gets easier to watch or know about it rips your heart out and leaves your mind reeling with utter shock that such evil sick torturous experiences exists but they DO and they wont stop until we do more than just feel bad about it you need to take a stand

  • Brad says:

    Recommend RICE cream or Soy cream to your friends. Everybody I know likes it.

  • cindy says:

    this is sicking i can belive thjis is happing i live in pennsylvania and iam very upset about this they to be punissed the fullist extent of the law and have the same done to them what they did to those poor cows or any miss treated animl

  • Saucy says:

    Tofutti makes a really good dairy free pizza as well as all of their dairy free ice cream products. If your grocery store doesn’t carry it ask them to order some. Almond cheese rice cheese soy cheese are really good on your lite life meat free products or tofurky with veganaise. I like vanilla flavored rice milk and soy milk. Almond breeze is very good also. Dairy is awful. If your having trouble getting off it I suggest keeping some photo’s around to remind you of how horrific the dairy industry truly is.

  • Peggy Lea Sterkin says:

    Hi Guys I went into Land of Lakes website and emailed my concerns to them about the treatment of the cows. Just google Land of Lakes and you will find them. I also sent an email from PETA too but thought the more stuff the better. Peggy Lea

  • Lisa says:

    I am sick of people getting a slap on the hand when they hurt and abuse these poor animals I really hope that they change the laws these companies are in the wrong and they should all go to hell for what they are doing . they need to put a stop to this ASAP .

  • Shelly says:

    Such beautiful beings being treated so poorly… It pains me to see the sadness and fear in their eyes and the callous actions of the farm workers. This is a wakeup call to all who have said “Milking a cow doesn’t hurt they like it” PETA has once again shown us that if an animals is involved for profit they will SUFFER. Thank you PETA and to the brave whistleblower who had to watch this horror show and do nothing. Go Vegan!

  • lisa says:

    can PETA confiscate the animals or close down the operation?

  • Jessica says:

    I physically could not stand watching this whole video. Vegan butter here I come.

  • christopher says:

    my problem is even if I go vegan this kind of unacceptable cruelty to living feeling mammals will continue unabated! The problems that capitalism and production create seem to large and overwhelming to stop. I have to sadly conclude that extreme actions and violence is the only solution ! I hope this is printed because I say this only because I am overwhelmed with anger and serious grief.

  • Lauri says:

    Ugh. I’m getting to the point where I am no longer shocked by these videos though my heart breaks every time. I find myself saying “I’m so sorry” to the animals on the screen. I do hope that PETA is making EVERY EFFORT to try and get this footage into the mainstream media. If you care about animals the best thing you can do is vote with your dollars and go vegan. Animals are not here for us to use any more than we are here for them to use. We are all sentient we all have the ability to feel happiness joy misery torture and tremendous pain. I have lost my faith in humanity because so many people just look the other way in order to justify the consumption of meat dairy and eggs. It is just despicable.

  • Michael Essi says:

    PETA You encouraged me to go vegetarian with your video “Meet Your Meat” and I have been a vegetarian for almost two years now. Because of this new footage I can assure you that I will now be vegan. I have no excuse for why I haven’t implemented a vegan diet until now but I will not be complicit in the crimes that happen on dairy farms any longer. Thank you for once again prompting me to face the reality that eating animals products or byproducts is 100 contradictory to my belief system. What was I thinking when I made the change but continued to eat cheese? Even calling my own self out on this I fail to see humans as the most intelligent of species. Look for my resume! I have to do more to assist your organization in ending these daily assaults on animals. Thank you for being there to educate myself and others about what really goes in inside these horrific death camps!

  • Pat Gauvreau says:

    This is just sickening. I’ve sworn off dairy products from today forward and written a personal email to Land O’Lakes. I also went on Dr. Oz’s website to ask him to write to them himself since while on the OPRAH show he recommended Land O’Lakes “I can’t believe it’s not Butter” for a healthy substitute. Who wants to eat healthy at the expense of the cruelty and suffering of these poor animals. Not Me. I hope this campaign from PETA will work fast to expose these farmers and I really hope they are punished far more severely than the PIG farmers were. We need more well publicized cruelty stories like the Michael Vick dog fighting story with more severe punishments for such crimes. We need it to make front page news to send the message that this cruelty won’t be tolerated. I will certainly be passing this info on to people I know.

  • Ann Coccagnia says:

    PETA rocks. Every damn dollar I can muster each month is going to you guys. This is SO important. I can’t thank you enough for doing what you do. These poor cows. We really can pressure these companies by boycotting their products. And whomever posted the great idea about seasoning things like potatoes with spicy sauce is genius!

  • Aimee says:

    I think this is totally disgusting and wrong!Them people should definetly get what they deserve how can someone in there right mind do these cruel things to these poor animals. It just makes me sick.

  • Saucy says:

    Susan T. This is not from God. It is the devils kingdom the table of satan as it is refered to in the Bible. People forget we are in a war between good and evil and there is a prescribed amount of “time” until that final hour when the devil will made a footstool for Christ. Oh HAPPY DAY.

  • Joanna says:

    This sad story is repeated all across America every day. The Dairy Industry in general is cruel. Even the best organic farms require a lifetime of intense milking separate the babies from their mothers at birth and force the cows to live short lives and never nurse their own babies. you still see babies in hot isolated containers on the organic farms that are destined for veal. There is no humane milk farm in America. Its better for you and better for the cows and better for the environment to skip the butter chesse milk and find healthy alernatives. Raw sesame tahini can be used to make a vegan milk or butter for baking. Try fruit puree and almond butter in place of butter try rice milk in place of cows milk try sliced raw veggies in place of sliced cheese. Try roasted sliced veggies in place of melted cheese for a savory dish even pizza is great this way. Just Say NO to Dairy. If you suffer from sinus headaches skin rashes or constipation you will find the no dairy diet an effective and rapid cure. If you feel sad about this story use that emotion to motivate youself to try a week with out dairy. It will change your outlook entirely. Give the gift of Love to the Cows by refusing to buy any and all dairy. Then send a message to the Dairy Council letting them know you are going dairy free…they love that. It makes their Happy Cow campaign so much more meaningful when you realize just how far from reality they are trying to take consumers.

  • Anne says:

    Incredible. I thought that the U.S.A. was a place where civilized people had kindness towards the animals……IM completedly wrong. Someone has to have the power to stop this disgrace….. Who can help? Butterfly.

  • Christina Knapp says:

    I want much more to be done to punish the people who are involved and perpetrating this horrendous treatment Who are the people where are the farms? Please post their addresses so WE the PEOPLE can figure out how to shut the down. Make this story a national news event much more worthy than most of the human interest stories that are on every night

  • Eden Courtney says:

    What kind of people can do this? Can you imagine do they go up to the farmhouse and have a nice meal with their families? This is unconscionable. I signed the email and added personal comments. I have been struggling with giving up dairy products even though PETA’s article about the Downed Cow caused me to become vegetarian I have the picture of the cow and the article on my refrigerator but NO MORE. I’m going home tonight and throw out every single dairy item I have in my refrigerator. Did you notice how huge the poor cow’s udders are? Also I’m going to contribute a monthly donation to PETA even though I’m barely making it. God Bless the undercover investigators for doing this work. Got Milk? Not anymore ever.

  • nina says:


  • John Carmody says:

    I am Vegan so i do not need to worry but i will fight to stop all this suffering and the the abuse.

  • mellissa says:

    Kathy you asked” How can anyone in their right mind with any love or compassion in their heart do this to animals”…The answer is simply…these worker have no compassion or love for these animals. it takes a very dark sadistic person to stomach the abuse every day…which is exactly why these workers need to be exposed. Whether you go vegan or not the conditions and medical neglect and abuse will continue till we get the media to expose it and get major attention. I don’t know why PETA isn’t calling on CNN FOX Even Nancy Grace. she loves to argue for a good cause.

  • Pat Scala says:

    Which Pennsylvania farm did the abuse occur? We have a Land O Lakes operation here in Bradford County in Pa.

  • Rebecca King says:

    I love Peta and everything they do is wonderful but i cry so hard watching these video’s. this is so sad and it goes on and on. i wonder how these workers sleep at night. i agree with the post. they are all going to hell no joke all the animals are Gods creatures and i have asked many times about the eating of meat i believe God did supply us with food but he did not or does tolerate the abuse.i wrote to land o lakes and i will never ever buy their stinking products again.

  • Susan T says:

    Well PETA I’m broke but another donationis headed to you. Thank you for this gutwrenching investigation. My deepest thanks and compassion go to the investigators who had to be silent and capture this senseless callous cruelty day after day. I don’t have a clue what’s in store for the human race in the future but I honestly can’t conceive of a loving god allowing mankind to continue treating His creation so horribly much longer. These innocent beings certainly don’t deserve this miserable life. Please!people don’t just write and complain if you’re not yet “vegan” make that change today. I pray all those suffering creatures are now whole again free living in peace and comfortnever to be harmed again. “Our lives begin to end when we remain silent about the things that matter”. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

  • Taylor says:

    Question. Are these Amish dairy farms? The Amish are the number ONE puppy mill breeders in Pennsylvania and reports of farm animal abuse have b een rampant.

  • Kathy Marie says:

    This is an outrage! How can anyone in thheir right mind with any love or compassion in their heart do this to animals! Very sadistic! HOW can these workers live with themselves after what they have done to these precious animals? I can’t even imagine the horror and pain these animals felt during this. How sad. When is the cruelty ever going to end? God help us to change…..

  • Debra Stronkowsky says:

    I have one thing to say DO TO THESE SO CALLED HUMANS WHAT THEY DO TO THE ANIMALS!!!! I have my cows that die a normal death Get help with vets ALWAYSAn I DONT EAT MEAT!! I rescue them and every other type of animal. They have MORE feeling then some people.

  • Carla* says:

    Oh boy here we go again. The love I have for these animals and to see them suffer day in and day out like this is very disheartening. There is no need to continue to put these gentle beings through this life of hell anymore!! Don’t consume the stuff we don’t need it. Our bodies were not meant for it. Untill all this madness stops then there will be peace. Put the animals raised for food where they should be nonexistent.

  • Mylissa says:

    I am vegan so I don’t buy this kind of product but I will pass this one ot everyone I KNOW! Sick!

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I just avoid dairy altogether. Can’t stand margarine so I skip that too. I use mild salsa on baked potatoes.

  • Dawn says:

    This is disgusting! I only buy Land O’Lakes and will switch to another brand. You telling me you can’t keep better track of you farms that provide your milk? Hogwash you just can’t be bothered as long as you get the money!

  • Ruth Bell says:

    What is wrong that these inhuman brutes get away with a $750. fine if the case wasn’t so serious it would be funny and why are the vegans plugging their products on this serious case of blatant cruelty I just don’t understand the American people who let these things happen Ruth. Western Australia

  • Deaner says:

    My hat’s off to the brave person who spent so many months in this place laboring on these poor animals’ behalf. It must be devasatating to see first hand such misery and indifference on workers’ parts. I hope the person sees the fruits of their hard work and realizes how many people’s minds this will change. The dairy industry hasn’t drawn the scrutiny that the pork poultry and egg industries haveand that’s going to change with this. Congrads PETA and investigator alike!

  • NT says:

    These people are going to Hell.

  • Tammy says:

    I never buy Land O’Lakes anyway although I think Captain D’s uses their butter.I have found some in my bag when I’ve order a baked potato. I don’t use it. This is just horrible.So degrading. Makes me so mad. I hope this jerk gets it good in court! Thanks PETA for exposing what goes on.

  • Mary Rapp says:

    How anyone can read this and not be moved. We have to let manufacturers know we will not use thier products until they become more concerned about the welfare of the people and animals that make it possible. Sending an email is easy.