DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - An animal rights group has released disturbing new surveillance video from the group’s undercover abuse investigation at the McArthur Farm in Okeechobee.
Deputies arrested three employees at the farm. It’s the third dairy farm that has drawn concern due to cattle abuse.
The Animal Recovery Mission released the new video Thursday, showing apparent animal cruelty to dairy cows at the McArthur Farm. The disturbing video appears to show cows beaten, speared and burned.
“This was a regular occurrence, hitting and stabbing animal with this, on a daily basis,” said Richard Couto of ARM holding a makeshift spear. “If we didn’t have a spear available, they would take PVC and they would make it razor sharp. They were stabbing in the reproductive areas with this, in the face, in the backs, in the udders.”
Some of the workers could be seen on the video stabbing the cows with what ARM says are spears tipped with knives. The footage also showed a worker using a blow torch on several cows, a move the group says is a shortcut method of sanitizing teats before milking by searing hairs off the cows’ udders.
“They are set on fire alive,” Couto said. “Lit alive; they are burned.”
Workers were also being accused of using a mechanical pulley system to extract calves from pregnant cows before the animals were given the chance to fully dilate. “The mothers having their babies automatically ripped from them the second that they’re born,” Couto said. “[They] are being electrocuted. They would stab these animals with this makeshift spear.”
Couto added that the cows were prodded in their private areas. “How incredible? Imagine it being the sickest time in your life and barely being able to move and having a worker come up to you with this spear and inflict more pain and misery on you,” he said.
A former Florida Sheriff’s deputy had previously gone undercover at the farm and recorded troubling video, as well.
McArthur Farm is the third Florida farm to be exposed. At least nine employees are being implicated.
McArthur is one of the largest producers of milk in the state.
ARM said the farm is owned and controlled by Dean Foods, but the company refutes that claim. “The raw milk is being taken by Southeast Milk and is going into Dean Foods products,” Couto said. “This product is coming from McArthur Farm and going into TruMoo, DairyPure and other products owned by Dean Foods.”
“We want to make it clear that Dean Foods does not own or control any dairy farms. While we proudly own the McArthur Dairy brand and dairy processing plant located in Miami, the ‘McArthur’ name is totally coincidental,” the company said in a statement. “Dean Foods has no ownership interest and is in no way involved in the management of McArthur Farms.”
The local sheriff in Okeechobee where the farm is located has also spoken out. “We arrested three individuals from the video of the McArthur Dairy,” he said. “They had committed a crime that was viewed on the video.”
According to ARM, they are taking all the information to Tallahassee in order to change the statute and law to protect these animals.
This investigation adds to recent animal cruelty investigations into Burnham and Larson dairy farms.
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