An Expose of PETA’s Recent Dairy Cow Gotcha Video

There are some major issues with what they claim to be showing you and what you are actually seeing.   There’s a good explanation here.  For one thing, PETA shows cows wading through knee high manure in their own dairy barn- but the barn looks otherwise unused, and the feeding troughs are pristine of any actual food.

For another, anybody who knows cows and cow manure knows that there would be a lot of flies in that barn.  Cows are born with natural fly swatters- their tails.  They swing them back and forth, swatting themselves on their sides over and over. Whatever they dip their tails in gets splattered all over themselves and anything nearby.  But these cows have clean backs and sides, even clean tails, and clean bellies.  It’s not possible that they have been in knee deep manure, and higher, for more than a few minutes.

But read the rest, including the comments.  Here’s one of the best of them:

1. At 15 seconds there is a large weed growing next to the feed rack. No honorable herbivore would have let that weed survive past six inches in height.

2. There is a great deal of bird manure on the pipe above where they are fed. In my experience, birds don’t gather or nest in high traffic areas such as a feed bunk.

3. There is no fresh splatter. Anywhere. Not in the feed bunk, not on the support beam, nowhere. When manure is that “soupy” it gets everywhere and there is no hiding from it.

4. Lastly, everything looks old and unused. You can always tell when something has gone untouched for an extended period, and this appears to be the case.

If PETA is going to stage a video in an abandoned dairy barn, I would suggest hiring some help next time.

PETA has a vested interest in animals being abused on film, because it boosts their income- more people donate.  PETA and other animals rights activist organizations have quite a long history of actually paying people to abuse animals while they film the abuse and call it secret footage of real industry practices.  You can see some of them here.

Now, that’s from the fur commission, and they have some vested interests of their own, but you will see that they do a better job of documenting their claims than PETA does.  They also point out the common sense test- PETA has claimed several fur industries practice skinning the animal alive for some reason, and they do show footage- a raccoon dog in China for one infamous example. I’ve read that if you speak Chinese, you hear somebody in the background asking, “Why is he doing it to a live animal?” because this is obviously NOT the norm.  Skinning an animal live is not only a gruesome and inexcusably psychopathic thing to do, it’s stupid if you want to sell your fur and get the most compensation you can.  A writhing animal is a danger to the skinner, and a danger to the skin itself, which will be messy and possibly torn.  It’s bizarre that people believe this is a typical practice, when, all humane conditions aside, it’s not even a sensible practice from a strictly financial point of view.

Neither is keeping dairy cows thigh-deep in muck.



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  1. Karen in SC
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    No apologies for PETA here – I eat vegan, but I have no respect for PETA – but I wondering what your opinion of factory farming is. Do you think that abuse is not the norm on factory farms? I think that for every one staged video there are a hundred that are real. (Which is saying something, since most of the farms don’t want anyone inside with a camera.)

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      Well, it’s complicated. I’m not a fan of factory farming. But I am not convinced that it’s as widespread as the activists claim particular in the beef industry. I do think the chicken and pig farms are probably the worst- I live near a couple of operations for both, and while I’ve never been inside, I know the animals have never seen the outside and the stench is nasty- it’s worse than just the smell of manure. Local 4-H kids cannot raise or show pigs at the fair if anybody in their home works in one of the swine operations around here because the diseases and cross-contamination issues are so serious.

      However, when it comes to bovines, rather than a hundred real factory farms for every staged video, I’m inclined to believe in far fewer numbers. I watch those movies and they use the same footage over and over, they often seem to be using footage that is 20 years old or more. Some of the practices we’re are told are rampant- it doesn’t make sense if you know anything about the animals involved because those practices are not financially sound- so even if the farmers didn’t care a whit about the happiness of the animal, they do care about profit margins, and they won’t use methods that they know aren’t profitable.

      I am not remotely convinced there are hundreds of factory farms with horrific conditions for dairy or beef cows. I live in dairy country. I’ve been allowed in a couple of dairy farm, and I was allowed to take pictures (it was a field trip with my kids on one occasion). One is a dairy farm that is also a tourist attraction, and another was a local dairy farmer who knew who I was- one was a family friend going back three generations in my family. I think the reason most farms don’t want somebody inside with a camera is because they don’t trust the agenda or integrity of strangers coming up to them with cameras, and with excellent reason. Activists have a history of falsifying images and misleading people with information that lacks context (like the fact that you are *supposed* to see a dairy cow’s hips). If I had a farm, *I* wouldn’t let people I didn’t know in with a camera, and if I knew they were activists, I’d definitely not want them anywhere near my operation because of the activist history of dishonest editing.

      I also have driven past dozens of beef cow operations, and I don’t see the conditions that supposedly exist- the cows are in the open air, their fields are cleared of manure almost daily, they are not knee deep in muck, and they have shaded shelters, open on all four sides. They have room to move around. I’m sure there are probably a few bad apples, but I don’t think they are the majority any longer.

      I recommend the movie about Temple Grandin, who revolutionized the beef slaughterhouses in, I think, the 80s. That movie is about her remarkable life (she has autism), not strictly about beef industry practices. But since that is where she chose to work, there’s a lot of factual information in there which totally contradicts activist claims. Watch it all the way through, and pay attention to the credits. That will give you the context to judge for yourself when you watch a factory farm video if they are showing you old footage that shows conditions no rancher uses any more (most of them I have seen are doing just that).

  2. Lindsey in AL
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I just wanted to point out that this sentence, ” “Why is he doing it to a live animal?” because this is obviously the norm” should probably read “NOT the norm.” 🙂
    PETA infuriates me. I’m glad they’ve gotten so much bad (actually TRUE) press in recent years.

  3. Karen in SC
    Posted August 13, 2014 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your response. I’ve heard of that movie about Temple Grandin, and I’d like to see it sometime, because of her fascinating life. I don’t actually watch much of the other films. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 25 years and vegan for over two, so I don’t need convincing, and I don’t want to look at the ugliness. I can see it for myself, anyway, when I drive to town behind the trucks that deliver chickens, confined in tiny cages, open to all weather, to slaughter. Those trucks go through town frequently, and you’ll often see dead chickens on the road. I don’t know how they get out, but the sight of them has made many vegetarian converts around here. (I don’t know why they travel so far. Are there no slaughter houses in Georgia?)

    Muck and mess may not help profit margins, but steroids and antibiotics do, though they don’t do much for the animals or for us. I’m fortunate to live near a good dairy farms, and I buy milk and cheese there for my vegetarian-not-vegan kids. You can taste the difference in the quality of the animal care. Still, though, eventually even those cows end up on a truck for slaughter (no retirement on the back 40), and I’d rather eat beans than be involved in that while I have a choice.

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted August 13, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Oh, I had no intention of convincing you not to be vegan. Just that practices, especially in the beef and dairy industry, are not quite as often represented.

      Pigs and chickens are a different kind of farming altogether.

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