to jump to the article. Summary: When news broke in April 2011 of another undercover video released by Mercy for Animals, dairy bloggers were quick to respond. This article featured excerpts of blog posts from Ray Prock, Jr., in California; Michele Payn-Knoper in Indiana; Shannon Seifert in Minnesota; and Tim and Emily Zweber in Minnesota. Each provided information about how most dairy producers run their operations. The article also included tips provided through Dairy Management Inc.'s myDairy toolkit program. Because this article was so popular, we asked Prock a follow-up question: Q: What advice can you give to dairy producers who choose to respond to an animal abuse video and/or consumer comments from it? What are some of your tips for remaining levelheaded and not becoming defensive? A: First, try to refrain from being defensive; instead, express empathy. We also have to denounce the behavior if it truly is not normal practice. The consumer is not attacking us. [They're] just expressing their disgust, so we need to understand their concerns and help reassure them that most farmers' values are the same as their own. Explain openly and honestly what you do on-farm that emotionally connects with what the consumer expects. —Ray Prock, dairy producer, California [Click here or on the image above right to see the full list of the Top 25 articles of 2011. Click here to see the list from 2010.] ARTICLE Animal activist organization Mercy for Animals released another undercover video today, exposing cruelty on a Texas calf ranch. The video is tough to watch and is no doubt raising concerns from consumers across the nation. Should you respond? Absolutely. Explain to the non-ag public how you treat animals on your operation. Use blogs, Facebook and Twitter to showcase a cow's life at your farm. Don't let this video represent you. Be sure to scroll to the end of the article to see talking points from Dairy Management, Inc. Need some examples? Find out how other dairy producers are responding: Ray-Lin Dairy: Is going Vegan the answer to animal abuse? NO the answer is to hold animal abusers accountable for their actions and honor those who do the right thing by the animals. National Dairy FARM is a program created by dairy farmers to set a baseline for animal care and move forward from there, our farm along with many others in the US have embraced this program to help weed out the bad actors. This afternoon I learned ofanotherundercover video of animal abuse in agriculture and quite honestly I feel let down by a fellow farmer. I am as horrified as ever that some of the things caught on tape are even happening in agriculture today. Read more... Michele Payn-Knoper: The Tears I've Shed... Animal Abuse Today marks the release of yet another nasty video. One more portrayal of animal abuse. Another one that makes me cry. You might be surprised that I’m not numb after a decade of monitoring the animal rights videos. Simply put, they make me sick. I shed tears because this is B.S. that is so unfair to the great people who work their rears off to bring you milk, cheese, ice cream, etc. No dairy farmer that I know is looking for your pity, but I want to be sure food consumers understand that making milk is a 365 day/year commitment. A person is a part of the dairy business because they love it. It creeps into your soul as though you have no choice. Read more... It was really hard for me to watch such pain and disrespect for these calves. Heart wrenching doesn't even begin to describe how I felt. I wanted to reach through the screen at take a swing at the abusers! Everyday, dairy farmers like myself work diligently, putting the care of our calves and cows first, most times before our own care. It is a black eye on our industry when another situation like this is found. Abuse of this nature is not commonplace in our industry, even though some activists would lead you to believe this.Orange Patch Dairy and other dairies across the nation strive everyday to improve the care we give our animals. Read more... Zweber Family Farm: Calf and Animal Care is our NumberOne! Another under cover video has shown a heifer raising facility abusing animals. This is so sad. The video is hard to watch, so I will not post it here. If you really want, you can Google it. On our farm, animal care is our number one priority. We care for all their needs often before our own. What was shown in the video was not right, and those involved should not be farming and caring for animals. We teach our children at a young age that animals need to be treated with the most care and respect we can give them. Read more... and see a video about calf care The Ole Cowmilkers Random Thoughts: Animal Care Last evening I got a notice of a video coming out today on the mistreatment of calves on a farm in Texas. So I logged in and started to watch the video so I could know the content of the video. I only watched the first few seconds of it, got mad and shut it off. Several reasons I could not watch it: 1. I could not stand not understand why they were treating the calves that way. I/my wife raises our baby calves for our replacements and no way would I or she or any of our employees treat our calves in this manner that I saw. Read more... Talking points In an e-update provided to producers signed up for the MyDairy toolkit program, Dairy Management Inc. shares some key messages to help you get a conversation started: Animal Care Messages · The dairy industry takes any claim about animal mistreatment very seriously. Any evidence of animal abuse should be taken to the appropriate state and local authorities whose job it is to investigate those claims. · Dairy farmers’ commitment to providing high-quality milk begins with taking good care of our cows. · Dairy farmers care for our cows by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions so you and your family can enjoy high-quality milk. · Dairy farmers work closely with veterinarians to keep our cows healthy and comfortable. Dairy cows receive periodic checkups, vaccinations and prompt treatment of illness. · Healthy cows produce more milk. Dairy farmers work with animal nutritionists to ensure our cows get the nutrition they need. Additional Tips · Remember to focus on the positive things you do to care for your animals. · Consider using photographs and/or video to tell your animal care story. · Refer your followers to to learn how dairy producers across the country care for their animals PD Did you post a blog in response to the video? Leave a comment below, and we'll add it to this article. To see the animal abuse video for yourself, click here. Warning: Viewer discretion is advised.  

Gwin emily
Former Editor / Progressive Dairy