Late last week, Publix Supermarkets announced it is suspending milk shipments from a large Florida dairy farm after a disturbing video emerged online showing its workers brutally beating cows. The footage was shot by Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), an animal cruelty investigative organization. A member of ARM went undercover for a month under the guise of wanting employment at Larson Dairy in Okeechobee, according to the Miami Herald. They shot shocking video which shows Larson Dairy employees kicking cows in the head and torso and beating them with a steel rod.
“On day one, we started seeing serious abuse by the milkers, by the managers, by the foremen,” Richard Couto, ARM member told CBS4. “Imagine a piece of steel rebar being jabbed in the head of any living thing.”
Couto said the abuse captured on video wasn’t isolated. Rather, he said it was an everyday occurrence. The abuse is now being investigated by the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, the Palm Beach Post reports.
“I believe there will be criminal charges forthcoming on the completion of this investigation,’’ Sheriff Noel Stephen said at a news conference Thursday afternoon, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
On Thursday, Publix issued a statement: “…We are disturbed by the images and shocked by the cruelty shown toward the animals. We are suspending raw milk deliveries from that farm. At Publix, we care about and are committed to animal welfare.”
Larson Dairy Farm is one of the largest in Florida. According to the Miami Herald the Larson family has been in the dairy business since 1947. Dairy farm owner Jacob Larson issued his own statement on Thursday: “We are deeply saddened and appalled by the actions in this video, which first came to our attention this morning. The unusual use of force is simply unacceptable on our dairy or on any other farm.”
Larson added that at least one employee has been fired as a result of the video.
[Photo: Animal Recovery Mission]