State Agency Under Fire for Failure to Investigate Dairy Farm Cruelty Complaint

Missouri Dept. of Agriculture Didn't Properly Investigate Allegations That Calves Were Suffocating in Mud at White Oak Dairy

For Immediate Release:
March 10, 2020

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Avilla, Mo. – PETA has obtained a report revealing the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s wholly inadequate response to a whistleblower’s reports of serious animal abuse and neglect at White Oak Dairy just outside Avilla, including that calves “drop down in the mud and drown” and that as many as 20 calves were dying there per day.

The whistleblower reported to PETA that a manager kicked pregnant cows in the abdomen and roughly handled them and that 200 cows were kept in mud-saturated 1-acre paddocks. According to the eyewitness, the bloated bodies of cows who had died were left in the paddocks for long periods of time before they were finally dumped into overflowing dumpsters and farm staff left calves deemed unprofitable to starve and suffocate in the mud.

Missouri Department of Agriculture officials visited the facility only once in response to the complaint, writing in their brief report that 350 cows crossing the road to be milked appeared to be “a picture of health.” After speaking with the manager accused by the whistleblower of kicking cows—but apparently failing to inquire about claims of abusive handling or to inspect the paddocks and dumpsters—they summarily closed the case.

“These reports of suffering animals merited a serious investigation, and yet it seems that state officials failed to honor their responsibility to take a close, in-depth look,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “The dairy industry is inherently cruel to cows and their calves and is in free fall as consumers reject animal abuse and choose vegan milk.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that cows in the dairy industry are artificially inseminated (raped when a person inserts an arm into the rectum and a metal rod into the vagina) and kept almost constantly pregnant so that they’ll produce milk. Every person who goes vegan saves the lives of nearly 200 animals each year.

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