Local farmers react to viral video of animal abuse

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TOWN OF CROGHAN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A happy calf lives at the Beller Family Farm in the town of Croghan. It's a family operation of more than 100 years.

“There were things in there that were not right. There were things in there that I would never like to see on my farm,” said Jon Beller, owner.

He’s referring to the now viral video showing severe animal abuse at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana, a major dairy corporation.

The undercover video was made by the anti-abuse activist group Animal Recovery Mission. Ever since, people across the country are pledging to boycott the dairy industry.

“If people just take that video as representative of the industry then they’re wrong because that does not represent the industry as a whole,” said Jefferson County Agricultural Coordinator Jay Matteson.

Contrast to what you see in the Fair Oaks video with what we saw at Beller’s Farm - the adult cows are free stall, meaning they can walk around the barn as they please and the calves have their own $100,000 nursery.

“There’s a constant supply of fresh air, 24/7 supply of fresh milk, a clean fresh place to lie down, and the abillity to socialize all the time,” said Beller.

To ensure the cow’s safety, Beller also has security cameras on at all times.

“We also made the employee sign an agreement when they start that number one, they will not abuse the cattle, and if they are, they will be immediately terminated,” said Beller.

“I think most people understand that the farmers in their community are doing a great job and care for their animals. It doesn’t make sense for a farm to mistreat their animals,” said Matteson.

Beller says, that’s because they need the cows as much as the cows need them.

“The cows are our livelihood, and we do not make a living without the cows. We give them the best environment possible so all they have to do is basically eat, sleep, and drink and get milked three times a day,” said Beller.

Happy cows produce good milk.

Dairy farmers are saying that instead of boycotting the dairy industry, you should buy products and support the dairy industry. That way they can have more money for their product, and spend money on better facilities for calves.

“Go visit a local dairy farm. You’ll be able to see how they take care of their animals, experience it first-hand and don’t judge the industry by this one piece. This one piece does not represent the industry as a whole,” said Matteson.

As for the workers seen in the video, all four have been arrested.

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