It happens way too often. A horrific account of animal abuse on a major factory farm surfaces, and we are stunned. Mercy for Animals just released a disturbing undercover video from Winchester Dairy just outside of Roswell, New Mexico, that shows farm workers viciously kicking, punching, stabbing and otherwise abusing the dairy cows in their care. Winchester Dairy just also happens to be a major supplier of milk to Leprino Foods, the world’s number one mozzarella cheese supplier, and distributor to pizza chains like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s.
"Cows exploited and abused for Leprino's cheese are treated as mere milk-producing machines and endure lives filled with extreme misery and deprivation," said Mercy for Animals' president, Nathan Runkle. "No socially responsible corporation should support dairy factory farms that beat, kick, shock, and drag sick and injured animals. Due to its complete lack of meaningful animal welfare standards, Leprino Foods has allowed a culture of cruelty to flourish in its cheese supply chain."
Mercy for Animals alerted authorities shortly after releasing the video, and the factory farm is believed to have been shut down, and advocates are urging the New Mexico District Attorney to take legal action.
Winchester Dairy, in response to seeing the undercover videos, has released this statement:
“At Winchester Dairy, animal care and well-being is central to our operations. Upon reviewing the footage of the animal abuse at our farm, Winchester immediately initiated an internal investigation and, in response, have terminated all employees and referred the abusive employees to law enforcement for further review; dispersed the farm’s dairy cows to other dairy farms with strong track records in animal welfare within hours of the video being received; stopped shipment of the farm’s milk to all vendors; and closed the farm’s operations, effective immediately.”
The Daily Meal has also contacted Leprino Foods, as well as the pizza chains that receive mozzarella cheese from them. Domino’s has assured us that although they get their cheese from Leprino, the milk did not come from Winchester Dairy farms.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter@JoannaFantozzi