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Mercy for Animals highlights from expert statements

Mercy for Animals highlights from expert statements

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Published by The Province
Independent, nationally and globally renowned academic and professional experts in farmed animal welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA Canada's undercover investigation at Chilliwack Cattle Company.
Independent, nationally and globally renowned academic and professional experts in farmed animal welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA Canada's undercover investigation at Chilliwack Cattle Company.

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Published by: The Province on Jun 10, 2014
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06/12/2014

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Highlights from Expert Statements
Independent, nationally and globally renowned academic and professional experts in farmed animal welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA Canada's undercover investigation at Chilliwack Cattle Company. Below are some of their statements.
James Reynolds, DVM, MPVM
Dr. James Reynolds is a professor of large animal medicine and welfare at Western University, College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Reynolds has served as chair of the animal welfare committees of both the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. He received the AVMA Animal Welfare Award for 2007 and the American Association of Bovine Veterinarians Award of Excellence for 2010. Dr. Reynolds graduated from UC Davis in 1982. He was in private dairy and beef practice in California for 14 years and was the chief of clinical services for production medicine at UC Davis for 12 years. Dr. Reynolds has worked extensively in on-farm clinical bovine practice in the United States, Armenia, and many other countries. Dr. Reynolds states:
The actions observed in this video are the most severe cases of animal abuse I have ever  seen in 32 years as a bovine veterinarian. [It] depicts acts of willful animal cruelty and abuse. Multiple people are observed repeatedly beating and kicking cows on and at the milking parlor (a rotary parlor). Cows are struck with full force with canes and kicked with the heel of boots, indicating willful attempts to inflict as much pain as possible. Cows are observed throughout the video to be in pain and frightened. Two cows are observed being forced down by beatings at the entrance to the rotary parlor, effectively pinching and crushing them in the rotation of the parlor. The cows rotate and are twisted between pipe posts and themselves in the action and are obviously in severe pain and distress. The other sections of the video show multiple cows on the rotary parlor with  severe swelling, wounds and draining abscesses on their hocks. These are lesions from chronic irritation when the animal lies down. Other cows are seen with lacerated wounds on feet,
 
 severely lame cows being walked onto the rotary parlor, cows receiving injections on the rotary parlor and cows with severe mastitis. The number of cows with these lesions and the severity of the lesions indicates long-term problems involving farm management regarding animal care and welfare on the farm. The dairy has failed to provide basic required veterinary care to the observed animals. Several workers are shown committing serious acts of animal cruelty and abuse. The fact that many animals have serious chronic and painful medical conditions means these problems existed for a considerable period of time. Workers were provided the canes, the chains and the tractor to pull cows over backwards by the management of the  farm. The dairy management has failed to provide medical care to animals suffering
 
 severe injury and pain. None of the actions observed can be defended as reasonable animal handling or management. The actions by people in this video are appalling.
 
Mary Richardson, DVM
For over 20 years, Dr. Mary Richardson has been involved in animal welfare issues. She chaired the Animal Welfare Committee for the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and produced  policy statements on a wide range of topics. She also served as chair of the Animal Care Review Board for the Solicitor General of Ontario, presiding over court cases involving animal abuse. Additionally, Dr. Richardson was a board member of the Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph. Dr. Richardson writes:
The workers’ attitudes are very worrisome. Not only is there a complete disregard for the animals’ welfare, but there seems to be great hatred directed at the cows.
 If this evidence had been presented to me when I was Chair of the Animal Care Review Board for the Solicitor General of Ontario I would certainly have charged these individuals under the OSPCA Act, with causing unnecessary pain and suffering.
Lee Schrader, DVM
Dr. Schrader is a practicing veterinarian, who obtained her doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Schrader has over 35 years of experience working with animals, particularly animals with serious, difficult-to-diagnose disorders. She performs post-mortem examinations on animal victims of abuse and neglect and  provides expert testimony in such cases. Dr. Schrader states:
Workers brutally handle the cows in this video. The cows are kicked, beaten with chains and rods, punched and prodded. This abuse is openly performed in the presence of other workers. The workers seem to enjoy inflicting pain.
One worker says of another “He likes
to kick cows.
 Another states that they should leave a cow hanging by her neck on a chain
(used to get her to a standing position). One attaches a milking machine to a bull’s
testicles.  In summary, this facility
 
obviously tolerates and promotes a culture of abuse, cruelty and disregard for the welfare of the cows. The lack of veterinary care for the wounds, lamenesses, and other injuries results in severe suffering to these animals. The
multiple “downer” cows and cows with retained placentas show a lack of good
management practices and attention to the needs of these animals. I feel that the treatment of the cows in this facility is inhumane and completely unacceptable.
Debra Teachout, DVM, MVSc
Dr. Debra Teachout is a practicing veterinarian, who graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. She also holds an advanced degree in veterinary clinical  pathology from Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, SK, and has completed additional coursework in farmed animal welfare. Dr. Teachout states:
 Down cows should never be moved by hanging. This practice not only causes significant  pain and fear, it also can create serious injury and further suffering. Punching a cow in the face
is an overt act of animal cruelty. An animal’s face is a particularly sensitive area.
 In addition, yelling in the face of this cow, regardless of the words used, is unnecessary and abusive as she was up and moving. It instills fear and dairy cows are typically compliant animals that do not respond well to yelling. Of particular concern to me are the comments by the workers to leave her hanging combined with the worker yelling at her
 
that she is so dumb. This type of worker behavior exposes a culture of widespread intentional animal abuse in this facility that is underscored again and again in the incidents described below.  All of these injuries require veterinary care; however, there is no evidence in the video that there is any medical care given to the problems. The uncared for injuries would certainly be accompanied by discomfort, chronic pain and suffering in these cows. The welfare of the cows in this facility is extremely poor. They should live in an environment that is safe and meets their needs. Instead, they are brutally beaten, kicked or hung and are treated with great contempt by workers who clearly have no regard for their welfare. They are physically and verbally abused. Intent to cause harm seems evident as revealed by worker actions such as connecting the milking equipment to the bull testicles, tripping a cow by striking her feet, and repeatedly kicking a down cow in the face. Most alarming are the attitudes of the workers as expressed in their hostile outbursts calling for leaving the cow hanging, killing a cow, or shooting the cows that went down after one was tripped by the worker. A culture of overt cruelty and abuse is  permitted to flourish in this facility. The comment from one worker about how another worker likes to kick cows and a second worker chimes in that it is more fun than milking  seems to sum up the permissive atmosphere for abusing the cows. Management is either negligent or complicit in allowing this brutality to continue. Currently the cows in this facility are suffering. Many are in pain; many are injured or sick and not receiving any veterinary care; many are living in distress and fear. Their environment is not safe. The workers in this video that are caught in abusive behavior toward cows and those that are permitting it to happen should never work with animals again. They should be held accountable for their actions. This facility must cease operations immediately until they can insure that the dairy cows will be treated with respect and that dairy cow welfare becomes a top priority.
Debora Zimmermann, DVM
Dr. Debora Zimmermann graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. In addition to her doctorate degree, she holds a degree in biology with a specialization in zoology from the University of Alberta. She is a member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, the Edmonton Small Animal Veterinary Association, and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. Dr. Zimmermann writes:
 At this dairy operation there were typically 3
 – 
4 people present in each clip, each of whom exhibited the same cruel and often sadistic behaviors. This suggests that this conduct is  part of the culture at this facility, and not simply the modus operandi of a rogue or mentally unstable individual. The fact that these gentle animals showed no active resistance to the onslaught of violent attacks to their bodies makes the level of force and cruelty displayed towards them even more disturbing.  Many cows also had evidence of mastitis (swollen, red udders/blood clots in teats), and draining abscesses. With the number of cows in the operation and the indifference and disdain for cows demonstrated by the employees, it is unclear if these cows will be treated for their painful conditions. Without treatment, the level of pain caused by swollen joints, foot rot and mastitis would be severe and unrelenting.

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