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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.
  • Chloe says:

    My dad buys Land O Lakes half and half for coffee and cappuccino because he says it’s healthier than the regular half and half. My Aunt in Baton Rouge used to buy Land O Lakes until I told her of their cruelty to cows and calves. She doesn’t like animal cruelty as much as I do. But I tell this to my Dad and he says oh well it’s healthy for people and tastes great. My Dad is also the one who says I love slaughtered up animals yum yum! Someday I will seek revenge on my cruel father and maybe then he won’t think twice about what he buys uses and eats.

  • Ana says:

    All I want to say is that I will never buy any Land o’ Lakes products again! I can’t believe that someone can treat animals this way they are too cruel and honestly I don’t know how they can live with their conscience. PLEASE SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST ANIMAL CRUELTY! THANKS PETA!!!

  • Nina says:

    Earth Balance is delicious. Farm animal abuse is disgusting. Go Veg!!

  • Rob says:

    This is ridiculous. I grew up on a family farm and I have a Masters degree in Agriculture from one of the top Agriculture colleges in the nation. This is NOT the way to run a dairy farm. Where the hell was the vet I doubt any of these cows had ever been seen by a vet. I am guessing they didn’t call a vet because they knew the vet would report them for cruelty to animals. How about the USDA inspector where was he? I have been to dairy farms that were so clean you could eat off the barn floor it was so clean. Most family farmers I know treat their dairy cows like members of the family. That is the way is it supposed to be NOT like this!

  • Fabianne says:

    Thanks PETA

  • Julie says:

    I am absolutely disgusted and saddened at the same time. I can’t believe that such a famous company like land o’lakes would even want their name tied to this type of cruelty and want to purchase their dairy from such monsters. I have always thought they were a reputable company and have bought their products…that was until today. I will never purchase another thing made by them and I will make sure to share with everyone I know so they don’t either. Thanks for making me aware!!!

  • Bob says:

    What is that red thing that is coming from thier butt??? i hate people who tortue animals if i ahd that place all of the anmals would be clean and healthy!

  • Mandy says:

    Thank you for all the great work and big efforts that PETA does in order to help these poor creatures!! I am vegan but try very hard to fight for cows and any animals that is abuse!!! God Bless PETA!!

  • Danika Sands says:

    I became a veg. after reading ALL of the ABUSE taking place on animals…THEY are so basic loving gentle..WHY ARE PEOPLE SO CRUEL??? it’s so sad.

  • Susan t says:

    I wrote to Land o’Lakes and this is the response I received. It is shameful! My letter to them follows their response. This company is as “compassionless” as the dairy owners. Please! stop consuming dairy products and if possible go vegan. It is beyond my sensibilities to understand how any human being could make such animal suffering a routine part of doing business. to me show details 114 PM 1 hour ago Thank you for visiting the Land O’Lakes Web Site. Regarding the claims made by PETA of animal cruelty at a Pennsylvania dairy farm that is owned and operated by one of our members Land O’Lakes has investigated the claims. To view the outcome of this investigation please click on the following link httplandolakesinc.comutilitynewscompanyECMP20092225.aspx Land O’Lakes is strongly committed to the proper care and humane treatment of animals and we take any claims of animal mistreatment extremely seriously. Land O’Lakes does not own cows. Our milk supply comes from members who are independent owners and operators of dairy farms. We take any claims related to animal treatment very seriously and are looking aggressively into this situation. Land O’Lakes supports efforts to develop national sound animal care guidelines and to urge producers to adopt these guidelines to ensure humane treatment of animals by all segments of the agriculture industry. The milk used in Land O’Lakes products is thoroughly tested and meets the highest quality standards. Be assured that your comments regarding this issue are important to us and that they will be forwarded to the appropriate personnel. 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 To” button at the top of this email. Your opinions are very important to us. Please take a few minutes and click on the link below to tell us how we’re doing. httpwww.zoomerang.comSurveysurveyintro.zgi?pWEB228ZMB69MAZ Sincerely Land O’Lakes Consumer Affairs Case 735328 Your comments Ladies and Gentlemen I am writing to strongly urge you to conduct a thorough review of your standards of care and humane treatment of animals and insist on frequent and unannouced inspection of all farms from which you contract for your dairy products. I saw the video and read the article about the horrific and unconscionable abuse of animals at a Pennsylvania dairy farm. I understand the owner and his son have been arrested and charged with animal cruelty. Hopefull you have severed all ties with this farm. I am vegan. I stopped eating meat and products made from animals about 10 years ago. However I understand that people will continue to eat animals and animal products. That being said as a civilized society we have the ethical and moral responsibility to treat these animals humanely and decently because they pay the ultimate price for our tastebudstheir lives. To allow helpless creatures to suffer so reflects harshly on humanity. Though I don’t partake of your products I ask you to take the necessary steps to create stronger humane standards for your suppliers. If you cannot do that then you should certainly not be in business! With outrage Susan Trout a voice for the voiceless

  • Nanis says:

    Lets help this poor animals please go fur free and we all know meet its good but just look how this animal are being treated please help them they’re just like us

  • Rose says:

    Outrageous dear Lord come back and stop this needless senseless horrible mistreatment of your entities. I wonder how these I hate to call them people would like to be at the hands of people who are like they are….To be unable to escape to be tortured with no respite? These poor suffering animals spend every moment of their lives with nothing just rape them for what they can bring in financially. Just think of being asleep awake every moment in wet hotcold miserable condition with no respite in sight. ALL animals love their babies and they are so intelligent they just can’t speak what their thoughts are and I farmed for 35 years and know. They all… my chickens hogs cattle sheep ducks geese…ALL knew their names and loved their young. Probably more so than most people. Animals squabble and yet take care of each other with licks nudges and such. It’s phenomenal to see them care for each other. A neighbors cow died out in the field and when it got buried the rest of the herd stood around where she was buried and bawled for 2 days!!! So that tells you animals KNOW and are not impervious to their herd cohorts feelings!! This cruelty is going on in puppy mills dog fights stallion fights over mares introduced into the penned area..horrible!! cock fights bull fights as well as in other food industries animals for food chickens hogs lambs and others. It’s disgusting. I think we can eat meat…BUT PLEASE raise it with compassion and thoughts of what that animal is having to give up. The native americans upon killing an animal for food gave thanks to their god and to the animal for giving up it’s life!!!

  • Vijay says:

    Check out the typical LEGAl HOGWASH from the accused Land of Lakes the squeaky clean company !Go to httpwww.flexnewsfood.comconsolePageViewer.aspx?page26338 What can PETA do or has done since the total denial??

  • Vijay says:

    I have been a vegetarian since 1997. After watching several such documentaries on the mainstream media ABC NBC CBS I just couldn’t take it anymore. But here lies the total hypocrisy. A person found to neglect dogscats is put behind bars for umpteen years and these monsters get away with $750 fine? Cows are next to mothers because they provide humans with their milk. The so called ORGANIC farms do the same in fact almost all dairy producers dish out similar treatment to their dairy producing animals and what to speak of the slaughter houses? In our quest for food we have descended in to sub human forms. We even eat genetically altered fruits and vegetables without knowing the consequences while the producers line their pockets with enormous profits. The authorities do not wish to disrupt the food supply henece will take minimal action. So it is really entirely up to the consumer now.

  • MH says:

    There’s no way Congress is going to outlaw dairy consumption but I agree with that 12point plan. Remember Prohibition? Take something away that people have always had and you turn ordinary folk into criminals.

  • mitchell says:

    i totally agree with jeanine that your treatment of animals is a reflection of you. flesh and blood is flesh and blood they feel pain and discomfort just like us. im sure they wouldnt enjoy being tortured and forced to live in disgusting conditions such as those day after day.

  • Rachel P says:

    Pete actually most dairy “farms” are just like this. Some are not. How can people know unless you actually go investigate… What brands did the suppliers work with of the places you have actually seen and feel are acceptable? I feel that is information a lot of people should know for those who just don’t have the willpower to give up milk. I always encourage buying local. I buy meat and eggs for my dogs from a local farm where I can go see the animals. They are all outside in grass with access to shelter. It’s very nice. I’m always suspicious of places in which I can’t see the animals for myself. If you don’t want to support “farms” like this it’s best to just assume the animals are mistreated until you know for sure.

  • jeanine says:

    Until the court system comes up with a better punichment for such blattant cruelty nothing will change. I agree that the farmers should be put in a 4 x 4 cage covered in fecal matter and urine given the occasional electrical shock and perhaps a milking machine connected to vital part of their body. We are all God’s creatures great and small. Your treatment of animals is a reflection of you.

  • Jasmine Chen says:

    oh my GOD. how on earth do these people live with themselves. they do realise ANIMALS HAVE FEELINGS!!!!!!!! they should be treated like that and would they like it? no i didnt think so. well now they know how the poor INNOCENT cows feel. all people who do this should be shot!

  • Linda Michaud-Wehunt says:

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Land O’Lakes Supplier’s Owners Charged With Cruelty!!! I found this video truly disturbing! I am letting my clients know about the site…THANK YOU PETA for not only investigating but for revealing this HORRIBLE TRUTH!!! OMG! I signed the Petition a couple of weeks ago when I first saw the video. I grew up on a farm…my favorite cow was ‘Rosunka’a name we chose for her. She was beautiful and I learned how to milk her from my Grandfatherback then it was ‘manual’LOL. I loved her. I can NOT imagine the horrors we saw on this video tape! I hope PETA continues to keep us updated on this issue…I am no longer buying anything produced by Land O’Lakes!

  • rachella says:

    These “people” deserve to be treated as these innocent animals have been. These “people” will surely burn in hell.

  • Flavia says:

    I would like to know if Peta has removed the sick cows from the farm? Is possible to close the farm? What will happen with the cows? Did they sent a vet to look after them? Thanks

  • Allyssan says:

    If people abuse a cat or dog they can go to jail for up to 7 years yet chickens cows pigs are treated like crap! I hope all the people who abuse these animals come back as those animals in their next lifetime so they can feel the pain they have given these poor precious animals.

  • DENISE says:


  • Mrs. Lois Koch says:

    Simply unbelieveable!! To me this matches the horrors suffered by those in the German concentration camps and Japanese prison camps to our Soldiers who were captured at the start of WWII. I wish I could say or do something to help these poor Creations. This boggles the mind thinking what horrors humans or socalled humans can do!

  • Patricia says:

    I don’t eat meat anymore because of cruelty to animals. If we don’t stop cruelty to animals what hope do we have of stopping cruelty to humans? I’ve distributed this video and will continue to do so and be vociferous about cruelty until it stops. May take forever but we have to stop this.

  • Lauren says:

    Horrible horrible. A very sick world. God forgive us.

  • JR says:

    It’s a good thing I am not anywhere near that farm because it would probably end up being in the news what I would do. I’d be going right down there right now and flailing on a few of those dairy farmers heads. They wouldn’t look very pretty by the time I had left there let me tell you.

  • The Siant says:

    I called the company and expressed my feelings. I hope I didn’t sound threatning o’well they deserve anything to come their way.

  • A horrified neighbor says:

    I’m horrified and ashamed to find out that this was going on in my own back yard! No this farmer was not Amish but they are sad excuses of what people do in the name of money. I agree the fine does not fit the crime. It’s nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Growing up on a farm myself I can say that this type of practice NEVER ! happened to our animals.

  • Angela says:

    I wasn’t able to watch the video knowing I would break down not being able to sleep for months. I’m no religious person please do not judge me for this. My opinion is it is all about money!!! The people who work in such places must be MONNSTERS just like anyone who is able to hurt ANY animal PETA please make this a news story PLEASE. It has to be possible to change laws regarding any animal abuse the punishment for animal abuse is still a “joke” not enough is done to really stop such “humans” for the lack of words I wrote humans. Where is the logic in going spending who really knows how much for wars flying into space while the most peaceful creature on earth suffer daily cannot defend themselves? The 90 days in jail750.00 punishment will not do a damn thing it will be paid they will laugh about the small price they had to pay it will go on with the abuse…!! Until we all understand animals are living creatures who never started a war do not care about flying to the moon for they are gentle nothing will change. I’m sad to be a human when I hear of such horrible treatment of animals! Our president should spend some time caring for such stories PETA shows instead worrying about the next Olympics in Chicago. Sorry I’m pissed I hate any individual who hurts animals.

  • Christine Curtiss says:

    $750 fine that’s a slap on the wrist I’d like to see these people do prison time they need to be locked up so they don’t simply go work on another factory farm. In this day and age it’s absolutely disgusting to see animals treated so terribly. I can’t stand watching the videos as they affect me to the point of feeling ill for quite some time. It has to stop. Thanks PETA for all you do and I am glad to support you.

  • Marea Gray says:

    I just showed my husband this footage he was disgusted just as i was… He commented on why arent there state regulations? Like some sort of inspection carried out on these establishments? We have that here in Australia.. I feel such sadness for those gorgeous gentle creatures who we owe so much too.. and what do we give them as a thanku? a one way trip to the abbatoir nice one hey… Stop this terrible practise bring in tough legislation for any animal establishments and keep it well run and maintained.. Make sure every dairy is inspected on a regular basis.. no ifs buts or maybe’s allowed.To see the last gorgeous cow with that afterbirth trailing from her as she could hardly walk was one of the saddest things i have ever seen.. Kindness must rule here.. Peta once again you have done a great job i just feel so sorry for the poor guygirl who had to witness this horror.. I would probably have thumped both that farmer and his stupid son.. ..Australian animal lover..

  • akash says:

    these people should be punished in such a way that they should know how these poor babies have suffer

  • Maritza says:

    How on earth can you do his to Gods creation? One day you will be held accountable for ure actions may you never have to suffer like these helpless animals!!! The same punishment must be done to all who is accountble for cruelty to animals!How do you sleep at night knowing of calfs lying in pain in fhilthy pens? Dont you have a heart is money and production all that matters to you? May God show mercy on all but I woudntLuckily our God is forgiving God!! Do you even read all the comments why cant you care for the animals who is making youre bussiness? How would you feel if youre wifes nipples are tied with a rubber band and just left to rot off?You are sick people just out for a few bucks Sleep tight Judgement Day is comingdont ask then why not me?????????

  • Joanne Marie Sevigny says:

    This is why I stopped looking at these horrible pictures and videos know I wont be able to sleep tonght but I am truly grateful to see investigators doing there jobs to uncover this type of horrible crimes commited to God’s beautiful creatures.