No prosecution in alleged abuse at dairy farm

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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BIRNAMWOOD, Wis. – The Shawano County, Wis. district attorney's office declined to pursue criminal charges against the owner of a dairy farm where an undercover video taken on the premises depicts alleged acts of animal abuse.

Mercy For Animals took the undercover video at Andrus Dairy Farm between July 19 and Aug. 22. Alan Andrus, owner of the dairy farm, told reporters that the video is based on isolated incidents that were blown out of proportion. He added that tail docking is a common practice in the dairy industry.

In a statement, Scott Niemi, assistant district attorney, said no criminal charges would be filed in the case. He said Andrus could fire or retrain his employees. Niemi added that the farm would be inspected "at some time in the future and any abuse noted will be attributed to him as he has been warned of the issues."

"If Mr. Andrus wishes, forfeiture actions could be started against some of his employees, however, the actions of the employees caught on video do not amount to a situation where criminal charges are warranted based upon the review of local and state vets," Niemi concluded.

Mercy For Animals urged Hiram, Ohio-based Great Lakes Cheese to adopt animal welfare standards for its milk suppliers. The company is a leading cheese maker that supplies cheese to retailers and foodservice operations across the United States.

Great Lakes Cheese issued a statement saying the company purchases "an infinitesimal" amount of cheese from Mullins Cheese, Mosinee, Wis., which buys a "small portion" of milk from Andrus Dairy Farm. The company said it expects suppliers to adhere to its established animal welfare policies, and has advised Mullins Cheese that Great Lakes Cheese will not accept any cheese made with milk from Andrus Dairy Farm.

"Great Lakes Cheese cares deeply about the health and wellness of animals on the farms that supply milk to make our cheese," the company said. "We are outraged and deeply saddened by the mistreatment of animals shown in the video released today by Mercy For Animals."
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