Operation Burnham Dairy: Investigation reveals disturbing treatment of cows

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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?

12 replies
  1. Jacqueline Kenny says:

    We need to but this on TV as a commercial the more people see the better. We are sinful in the way we waste food. I’ve seen gallons upon gallons of milk ready to expire, meat that is going bad all for the sake of stacking shelves. Animals suffer in all commercial FARMS. Absolutely Atrocities sickening what man is doing to our world.

    • Nancy Raymond says:

      Absolutely! And if Publix had any consideration or concern for the cruelty inflicted on these defenseless animals they would cancel their contract with the dairy. Surveillance cameras should be mandated in all these hell holes – these animals deserve humane treatment. The bottom line is GREED by the owners of these miserable farms. Mandatory jail time and huge fines those caught abusing animals.

  2. jeanette says:

    good grief, what is wrong with such cruel people. the same things should be done to them, starting with the owners of the farm. enough is enough.
    also stop having so many kids on this planet. we don’t need all that milk! poor cows and their calves,

  3. Red says:

    Burnham Dairy SHOULD BE CLOSED….. HOW are they allowed to even operator with dead and dying animals around? One this is certain. No NORMAL, caring, human could work in this place….. only monsters could work there and HURT these animals or NOT do something! Every single employee in this place should be cited, jailed, fined and everything else they can have thrown at them for this!!! May God help these poor animals in their suffering

  4. Marsha Squibb says:

    SHAME on Publix for having anything to do with this horrible “death hole””!!! As for the farm and the employees….. CLOSE this hell hole!!! The employees torturing these poor cows and calf’s should get EXACTLY what they dispense to them…I volunteer!!!!!!!!

  5. Mary Ann Clark says:

    These cows need to go to a no kill sanctuary, this farm needs to be closed immediately and the owners and employees need to be put in prison!

  6. carrie hyman says:

    This place makes Larson look like the Hilton. I hope all of it’s licenses are revoked and they are bankrupted permanently.

  7. Adrienne says:

    Where are the press to bring something this important to the general public? Documentaries need to be made and broadcast for all to see.This is very disturbing since so many parents just assume that the dairy products they have and give their children is healthy. The workers need to be prosecuted for animal abuse according to our laws protecting these animals. So many dirty little secrets in the dairy and meat industry, that we need to be more aware of what you put on your table for your family to eat. I am a vegetarian and my compassion for these animals makes me feel each time I read an article like this that I am helping a little. This farm needs to be closed down and cows go to a sanctuary. Horrible way they allowed these calves and cows to die. Heartless non human workers and even managers.

  8. vicki hood says:

    Get this out to the public please. We do here in the west as best we can. This video has to be shown. You did such good work, it needs to be seen. We have to keep after government to change. We need to dump someone and go after lots of agencies that are not doing anything but draining tax monies for cruelty. Cows are such sweet gentle beings. To see them beaten and kicked and ignored and suffering is unbearable for them and those that watch these kind of expose’s. We will not quit.

  9. Michelle says:

    The public needs to see these horri le discoveries at this shithole farm of terror and abuse. Put this dman place out of business. Why aren’t they inspected regularly, and vet care? Who is coveri g up for these farm owners? Somebody is making a lot of money from these poor creatures. Boycott this place and PUBLIX!!!!


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