ABC's Nightline makes a direct hit at dairy farmers

Hoard's Dairyman: 

ABC's Nightline makes a direct hit at dairy farmers

Date: 
Wed, 01/27/2010

Just last night, if you stayed up past your local news and turned on the TV you would have seen a disturbing negative report about the dairy industry on ABC. Before the piece even ran, we were led to believe the piece would be about milk quality, but it was nothing more than an attack on how dairy farmers care for their animals. ABC has posted the story online and has already received 529 comments as of this morning.

Undercover videos were shown of tail docking, as well as dehorning (did you notice the PETA stamp in the corner of the video?). The videos weren't pretty and were undeniably damaging to the dairy industry. You and I may know this is not the status-quo on dairy farms, but, for the average consumer, this may be as close as they ever get to a farm. There needs to be a zero-tolerance for this disappointing animal care shown in the Nightline "investigation."

Tail docking is an unnecessary practice and is not recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association. To see AVMA's stand on the practice, visit them here. AVMA also suggests disbudding along with a local anesthetic for dehorning — not the practice shown in the undercover video.

Chris Galen of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) was interviewed during the report, as well as the dairy farm owner. While the dairy farm owner relayed his belief that tail docking is a standard practice on dairy farms, we believe it is the contrary. Tail docking is now banned in California; however, prior to its ban, a survey of over 200 California producers (average herd size of 2,500) revealed that 89 percent of dairies did not dock tails. Comments from Chris Galen of NMPF were kept to a minimum — likely because he only had positive things to share about dairy farms.

A representative of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) also was interviewed and had the last word when the representative ended the piece with "Got ethics?" as a direct jab at the "Got Milk?" campaign. To answer her question, we say yes. Farms across the country work very hard to produce a safe, and humanely produced product. Let's work together to enforce a zero-tolerance standard for poor animal care.

What did you think of the piece? We'd love to hear your take on it.