Update on the Animal Rights activists use of sensationalism


Tonight I watched an investigative report on a major networks late night news show Nightline  that was about dairy farms. The sensationalism used in these stories is getting harder to watch as a second generation farmer whose family has cared for our animals comfort for nearly 40 years. I feel the media and activist groups use isolated incidents to create a sense of a major problem when quite the opposite is true. In the video I listened to the farmer say he does not stand for the improper care of animals and has previously fired employees for just that. I only wish he was able to express whether the employee(s) in this incident had been let go. If you want to see a video of animals on an average dairy you can see a video I did for Evernote. The California Milk Advisory Board also has put together some great videos of average dairymen and dairy families throughout California.

The dairy farmers  in the United States are working toward implementing a best care practices program for animal care called the National Dairy FARM Program. when this program is in place we will have an animal care manual that all dairy farms can use to continue to provide the highest level of care for their animals.

A great friend of mine Jeff Fowle, a cattle rancher from northern California has a great post on his blog Common Sense Agriculture discussing  animal rights versus animal welfare and why we should pay close attention to the difference.

In addition the post I made on this topic in September of 2009 is still pertinent as is the post referenced below from Dino Giacomazzi.

Sensationalism and the Animal Rights movement

September 29, 2009

Below is a link to a blog post by a fellow California Dairyman Dino Giacomazzi. Dino does an awesome job highlighting the unnecessary pressure and sensationalism some Animal right groups are using to ban the docking of Cattle Tails in CA. This is all unnecessary because no farm or dairy group opposes the ban and one group even supports the ban now that the farmer can provide prompt care for an injured animal.
I’m not a farmer but I play one on TV!


  1. Robin Rastani says:

    Thanks for sharing the real truth behind America’s Dairy Farms.

  2. Antonio says:

    Humans don’t need milk, except for their mother’s.

  3. Bea Elliott says:

    Silly me! Two years ago I never imagined that a cow would be killed if she was no longer “productive”. Ouch! Overnight I went from a milk drinking “vegetarian” to vegan.

    Fortunately, it’s been the best decision I ever made… I’ve found wonderful and healthy plant based alternatives to every product I ate before! And my healthy has improved immensely as well.

    No matter how bucolic the setting is – In the end, the calves are stolen from their mothers… the mothers milk is stolen for humans. And each of those animals is subsequently killed for their flesh. I’m glad news is getting out – And that many find this arrangement entirely unacceptable.

    Thanks for inviting comment. Go Vegan 🙂

  4. Ron says:

    We need to hit back hard at the hit pieces like Nightline did last week on dairy farming. Drovers editor Greg Henderson had this comment: “We can criticize the national media for ‘sensationalism,’ but the only way we can put an end to these unflattering videos and critical news reports is to get the bad apples out of our barrels.”

    How exactly do we get rid of the “bad apples?”

    My fear is that a lot of dairy producers, both bad apples as well as good, conscientious operators, have gone out of business in the past year. The boom and bust cycles in dairy (and beef feeding, to a lesser extent) seem to go on unabated, despite mostly lip service from politicians and a small group of producers that seem to be shouting in the wilderness. Occasionally you have a case like Dean Foods getting sued by the Justice Dept. for buying two milk plants in Wisconsin, but does anyone seriously believe that will help improve milk prices for producers who have used up all their equity and can’t find any bank to lend them more money to stay afloat?

    The only long-term solution is either higher demand or lower supply, or a combination of both. The national media and groups like PETA are doing their best to kill demand, and 4.5 million heifers (USDA report from Dec.) says supply will soon shoot up again.
    Milk futures prices dropped a dollar or more in the past week. Did anyone outside the dairy industry notice or care? How much did milk prices drop in stores?

    I grew up on a “typical” Wisconsin 50-cow dairy farm that is nearly extinct. At this rate, in 30 years there will be about 12 dairy farmers left in the United States. And I’m not just pining for everything nostalgic because some aspects of the “good old days” weren’t all that good, but the values like work ethic and honesty that my upbringing instilled in me are lost on the next generation. And we’ll never get that back.

  5. Bea Elliott says:

    Ooops! Speaking of “hitting back hard” — Looks like another bunch of those “bad apples” got caught again:

    Let’s see that’s about one every 2 months or so — And those are the ones that get caught. But cow’s milk is supposed to be so “wholesome”… R-i-g-h-t!

  6. ABlakeney says:

    Work to eliminate unethical farmers, like E6 Cattle. Every time a farmer wants to attack “sensationalism” (hmmm . . . it is a “sensation” because the public thinks it is wrong!!!!) from the national media, it sends the message that the farming industry has something to hide. “Hit back” (what a terrible phrase – in light of the video – one above commenter used) on farmers who engage in such atrocities.

    Ray-Lind, your posting is helpful to me, as I have encountered numerous postings from farmers or those in the agro business, who see such videos as an “us” (dairy, beef, pork or poultry farmers) versus “them” (animal rights activists). However, the REASON such films become so viral is because the general public – mostly meat eaters – have no tolerance for such things. This is not an “us” versus “them” . . . except in one area. That is, for everyone, most importantly YOUR INDUSTRY to oppose such atrocities. YOUR INDUSTRY should work hard to eliminate such farming practices.

    That will improve the industries image. However, additional damage is done every time a farmer or agricultural industry member attacks vegetarians, vegans or those who film such horrors.

    Amy B. . . . a meat eater and milk drinker . . . at the moment.

    1. raylindairy says:

      The reason you see an “US” versus them from some farmers is because they are hurt by what they see in the videos in addition to the video painting them with the same broad brush. There is nothing more disheartening than automatically being labeled as something when everything you do is the exact opposite of the label. We as farmers need to learn to react differently and use the mislabelling as motivation to tell our own stories.

      1. No… Dear Sir or Madam that’s not entirely true that “everything you do is the exact opposite of the label”. You do raise animals to kill – And there is a certain implication of negative baggage that comes with that.

        I once heard someone say, and it’s stuck with me ever since… As a staunch “non-veg” type person he said: “What does it matter how we treat them… We’re going to kill/eat them anyways.”

        Now, I know farmers/ranchers will say that’s not the case at all… But it really isn’t a giant leap from one line of thinking to the next – It’s really only a baby step. The premise is that these animals are valued for their bodies, not for their lives. And therein lies the slippery slope that anything goes… Well, even killing them in the end! For money no less! Hard to get away from that notion.

        Good luck telling your story – But as I’m sure you know… The devil is in the details.

  7. Lisa Burt says:

    I raised 5 girls and I taught them to put their money behind their beliefs. We used to go through at least a gallon of milk a day when we were raising the kids. That’s one reason why I am shocked that my oldest daughter and her entire family has gone vegan. She’s so great at fact finding and doing her homework that I’m at a loss on her decision. My youngest daughter went through this several years ago but we knew she was just going through a phase and once I shared information from people like you she quickly got over her misplaced trust in animal activist who don’t really care about animals. My oldest daughter isn’t budging and has been living vegan for over a year. I’m concerned because now she’s pregnant 😔. Her husband was a huge hunter and fisherman! I’m just frustrated because I feel like my conservative daughter and family have been tricked by these people. My daughter promised me that she is taking precautions for her health and that if my 5year old granddaughter as well as my unborn grandchild. Anything you can recommend to help me get her to understand the full truth would be awesome. Thanks for all you do.

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