At one time, Chino Valley, CA was an area bustling with milk production as dairy farms were lined up as far as the eye could see. However, development and drought have taken their toll over the years and these mass dairy producers have dwindled down to just a few. Vacant facilities still dot the landscape here and there but most have been taken over, torn down, and turned into housing developments. Our investigators returned to the Chino Valley in September to check conditions for the animals at the few remaining facilities.
Investigators immediately noticed dramatic changes since their last visit. The horrific calf facilities which used to house hundreds of baby calves in tiny stalls were simply gone. The entire area looked extremely run down with trash everywhere. Investigators saw a dead goat lying along the road but no one seemed to take notice. Everything was extremely dry and dust covered everything, making breathing difficult. On the day investigators were there, temperatures were close to 100 degrees.
The few remaining operable dairies were exactly the same as on previous visits: hundreds of Holstein cows kept in barren, dusty feedlots -- all lying down as close as possible together to share the small bit of shade the limited shelter provided. Investigators noted some of the cows were limping, likely due to bad hooves. The manure was quite deep in some areas. Most of the cows had large, full udders. One of the facilities holding “beef” cattle was observed feeding discarded, rotting fruit. No dying animals or downer cows were found during this visit.