Most people have seen, and few can forget images of "Dairy" Cows unable to walk being moved with a forklift. "Dairy" Cows are the most likely to become "downers" at auction. "Dairy" Cows are a major concern - in our experience, they are the ones that suffer the most. The summer months are especially hard on these that are already weak and lame.
AA investigators have repeatedly confirmed that the plight of "Dairy" Cows at auction is extremely poor. The most basic care for them is unavailable. There is no water available, no shelter, and/or pen space is inadequate at 95% of the auctions we have visited. Perhaps worst of all there is no euthanasia protocol at all, so downer cows are simply left on the "dead pile" to lie in pain and distress until they die.
Overall, AA has found that at auction, personnel are permitted to remain untrained or unresponsive to the special needs of "Dairy" Cows. That many auctions accept animals in such terrible condition and do nothing to ameliorate their suffering is completely unsupportable.
Yet the cows do not get in this condition over night but over the course of weeks. That some producers milk the cows into worsening condition until they are so weakened and calcium depleted they can just barely walk or rise, and then take them to auction, is calculated and cruel. We believe that by working to prevent the auctions from accepting cows in such condition, we will observe producers operate in some respects with greater regard for the animals' well-being.
Watch the video...
(Warning-some images might be disturbing to viewers)
Animals' Angels has collected evidence from hundreds of auctions across the US, identifying common problems and the worst auctions. We have filed complaints and gotten convictions against several auctions that refused to work with us. We continue to closely monitor high risk auctions and identify new "problem locations." Most importantly, we have achieved the desired outcome of significantly improving animal care and handling at several auctions that have agreed to sit down at the table with us.
The possibility or even likelihood that AA will visit an auction is in itself a very important aspect of 'what we are doing.' Our continuing presence helps shape and habituate procedures that help animals.
Among the other tools to improving conditions are guidelines recently developed by AA and produced as a sturdy, cleanable, pocket-sized pamphlet. The pamphlet is easy for auction employees to carry and keep handy, and has been an important tool for both improving conditions as well as providing a clear course of action when an animal is suffering and past recovery. The special needs of "Dairy" Cows are identified, and so for example the auction pamphlet provides straightforward, easily implemented steps for preventing cows from becoming downers.
Several auctions already have adopted the guidelines as part of their daily standard operations. Monitoring of these auctions so far has shown much improved conditions and the clear alleviation of suffering.This is a tool we definitely want to distribute for use at many more auctions.
Essential to the pamphlet, the euthanasia protocol helps auction personnel clearly recognize, assess and implement appropriate steps for euthanization in a timely manner. A trained employee is required to be present at the auction at all times to euthanize animals with no hope for recovery.
The auction pamphlets have not yet been produced on an adequate scale for larger distribution. Please keep Animals' Angels in mind for even a modest donation. Once funding for printing and distribution is secured, we plan to enlarge our scope to additional "problem locations" in PA, MD, OH and CA.
What else can you do?
Consumers' awareness of actual conditions for "Dairy" Cows rather than those advertised, our refusal to be misled, our demand for dairy products, and raising our voices can all lead to needed change.
Help us by raising awareness among friends and family. Small practical ways of doing this are to blog your local newspaper's website, post on your networking websites, distribute the link to our dairy video or post flyers on community bulletin boards.
By whatever means, creating awareness about the life of "Dairy" Cows empowers people to make informed choices about the purchase and consumption of dairy products and fast food burgers. With your help a consumer-based groundswell of concern will raise concerns within the industry.
Help support Animals' Angels with your donation.
P.O. Box 1056
Westminster, MD 21158
Animals' Angels USA is a registered 501(c)3, and all donations are tax deductible.