The following two news releases were made available to media concerning the footage taken at Buckeye Veal in Wayne County, Ohio. They are believed to be the first official releases, and are mostly unedited.
UNDERCOVER VIDEO EXPOSES CRUELTY TO BABY CALVES ON OHIO VEAL FARM
Animal Rights Organization Urges Livestock Board to Immediately Phase-out Cruel Veal Crates
Columbus, Ohio – Hidden camera video secretly shot at an Ohio veal factory farm exposing baby calves covered in feces and chained by their necks in narrow stalls, where they cannot even turn around or walk, will be released at a news conference Tuesday morning by Mercy For Animals – the same animal protection organization that revealed shocking abuse to dairy cows at Conklin Dairy Farms in central Ohio earlier this year. The organization is calling on the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to honor an agreement reached in June by leaders of Ohio’s farm community, humane organizations, and Governor Ted Strickland that would, among other things, phase out the cruel confinement of calves in veal crates.
Date: Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Residence Inn Marriott (Capital Room), 36 E. Gay St., Columbus, OH
The covert footage was recorded at Buckeye Veal Farm in Apple Creek, Ohio, in April and reveals baby calves chained by their necks inside 2-feet wide wooden stalls – so narrow they cannot turn around, walk, run, play, socialize with other animals, or engage in other basic natural behaviors for their entire lives. In such tight confinement, the animals are unable to lie down comfortably, breathe fresh air, see sunlight, clean themselves or bond with their mothers.
After viewing the footage, Dr. Marc Bekoff, an animal behavior expert at the University of Colorado, Boulder, stated: “Frankly, the treatment of these calves is disgusting, horrific, and reprehensible.”
Due to its inherent cruelty, the American Veterinary Medical Association opposes chaining calves in crates where they cannot turn around and five U.S. states, as well as all 27 countries in the European Union, have outlawed their use. However, the practice continues in Ohio.
On June 30, the Ohio Farm Bureau, Gov. Strickland, and animal protection leaders signed a landmark agreement pledging to work together to end the use of veal crates in the state. However, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which was enacted in 2009 by voters to create standards for farmed animals, has failed to take action to prohibit this abusive confinement system.
“Ohio has some of the weakest animal cruelty laws in the nation, and consequently, it has become a welcome haven for cruel factory farms,” says Mercy For Animals Executive Director, Nathan Runkle. “The Board should take immediate action to phase out the inherently cruel veal crate, a common-sense initiative supported by leaders of farming, veterinary, and animal protection organizations.”
Broadcast quality undercover footage from the investigation will be aired and distributed at the news conference.
Media Statement — Buckeye Veal
Released Monday, August 30, 2010
“For more than 30 years, Buckeye Veal has been committed to quality calf care and we take our commitment to providing for the well-being of the veal calves at our farm seriously. We take very seriously any allegations made about our farm, especially those that suggest mistreatment of our animals.
We have been made aware of a video released by an animal rights group about veal production which focuses on Buckeye Veal and individual stall housing. This sensationalized video is deceptive to viewers because it includes shots from multiple farms not affiliated with Buckeye Veal in any way. In fact, only a small percentage of the footage is from our farms.
“Careful review of this video does not show any mistreatment of animals at Buckeye Veal. The footage shows calves in two of our facilities, both of which are in the process of being converted to group housing, a new system that does not use individual stalls.
“We know from experience that veal calves can be properly cared for in both individual and group pens. However, we know that needs and demands of our customers are changing. That’s why we made a decision to convert all our facilities to group housing, a process scheduled to be completed by 2013. This is well ahead of the deadlines established by the American Veal Association and many veal raising states across the nation. In fact, at one of the two barns shown in the video, 85% of the calves are now in group housing. The final room will be converted to group housing in 4 weeks and 100% of the incoming calves will be in group pens. At that point, we will begin the process of converting the second barn.
“Buckeye Veal has long been committed to the quality rural life that makes Ohio so unique. All of the workers on our farm are deeply committed to the proper care of our animals. We will continue to raise wholesome veal in a responsible and ethical manner.”
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