Operation Burnham Dairy: Investigation reveals disturbing treatment of cows

Just one week ago, disturbing surveillance video at an Okeechobee, Florida dairy farm that sells and distributes milk to Publix supermarkets prompted an investigation for cow abuse and cruelty. The same investigative organization, Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) released new video on Thursday morning showing piles of dead cows, suffering milk cows and newborn calves as well as other abusive and inhumane treatment from another Florida dairy in the same area; this time the Burnham Dairy.


According to the organization, the  three-month undercover investigation began in August. The Burnham Dairy Farm began in 1961 and has an average of 800 dairy cows. The undercover investigator was hired as a cow milker, and from his first day at work, videoes show egregious examples of animal cruelty. Beginning in the milking barns, the cows are chased, prodded with stun guns, dragged, beaten, hit with wet and knotted towels and belts and poked with metal clads. The supervisors teach employees how to beat the cows into submission in order to retrieve the milk faster.

In addition the cows are kept in cramped quarters in violation of both humane laws and safety hazards for employees. Poor drainage forces the animals to stand in up to one foot of water mixed with fecal matter.

More examples of abuse were evident while cows were being inseminated by untrained workers causing the cows extreme pain. Employees were witnessed laughing at the cows being “raped.” And as the cows gave birth, the calves were immediately removed and isolated to small wire surrounded holding areas; no shade, no drainage and left to suffer in the hot Florida sun. Newborn calves were fed as employees shoved three-foot metal rods down their throats. Living and dead calves were housed together posing a threat for disease.

Improper nutrition resulted in calves contracting pneumonia, salmonella, coddidia, bloat, sours, dehydration, heat stroke and hypothermia. No veterinary help was ever made available and the “let them die” mindset left the babies to suffer agonizing deaths.

And for cows unable to get up; the sick or injured, there is no help. These unfortunate, sentient animals are electrocuted, prodded, screamed at, kicked and dragged to a holding area where they languish in agony – often for weeks before they die. During the entire investigation, the undercover worker never witnessed a licensed veterinarian or medical aid given to any of the sick or injured animals.

Last week, the video and extensive report, released detailed workers at the Larson Dairy located in Okeechobee brutally kicking cows in the face and body, beating them with metal rods and mercilessly poking them inside of the barn and milking stalls if the cows didn’t immediately cooperate. Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Stephen continues to investigate.

Read the Larson Dairy Farm article here.

(Photos courtesy of Animal Recovery Mission)

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Video: Graphic – May not be suitable for all viewing audiences. (Absolutely heartbreaking that this is the daily life of a dairy cow .)

Video: Warning graphic and may not be suitable for all viewing audiences. Still want to drink cow’s milk?