It was only last year that New Mexicans watched in horror as a whistleblower’s undercover video showed dairy workers electrocuting cows, whipping them with chains and carelessly throwing calves headfirst into trucks. When the cows were beaten so badly they couldn’t stand, the dairy workers used machinery to drag them across the ground.
This stomach-churning scene at the Winchester Farm in Dexter was the result of a two-month investigation – showing institutionalized cruelty that was either unnoticed or purposefully ignored by farm managers. The evidence was compelling enough that the farm shut down and four workers were charged with animal cruelty.
But if it’s up to Rick Berman, head of the well-funded, Washington, D.C.-based Center for Consumer Freedom, the type of comprehensive investigation that took place on Winchester Farm should never have happened.
CCF is an infamous industry front group with powerful clients like Big Agriculture, so Berman’s opinion in his Sept. 5 guest column is hardly surprising. Berman asks, should companies be held to blame for the actions of rogue employees? When the employees’ outright abuse and neglect of animals in their care become an inherent part of the companies’ operations, the answer is a resounding “yes.” All too often, Big Ag companies foster a culture of cruelty and negligence on their factory farms, victimizing their workers and animals alike. When these companies fight to keep their operations shrouded in secrecy, they clearly have something to hide.