PETA video relied on fear-mongering tactics

Aug 17, 2014

The PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) video taken at a small Haywood County dairy farm and released last week is the latest prop being used to advance the animal rights organization’s agenda.

It is an agenda that is pretty clear and prominently displayed on the organization website: “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”

While it is to be expected that promotional events and materials would illustrate points that underscore its mission, it shouldn’t be expected that misinformation would be widely circulated.

That appears to be the case with the dairy video released by the organization last week.

PETA claimed the cattle were emaciated and forced to remain in a several-inch deep pool of their own waste. However, the Haywood County Animal Control department found that cattle were pastured in a clean area next to the barn and a pasture across the road when they weren’t being milked. There was no evidence the cattle were either emaciated or in poor health, said animal control officer Jean Hazzard, a county official who has come down hard on those who abuse animals in the past.

In an email Hazzard wrote, “I have responded to the dairy and met with the owner and reviewed the alleged deplorable confinement and living conditions, which were unfounded.”

The news release also claimed that regional grocer Harris Teeter was receiving milk from the dairy — a fact the grocer denied and demanded to be retracted.

PETA also urged consumers to reconsider using dairy products, and instead switch to soy or almond milk, suggesting the conditions they found on an impromptu visit created health safety issues for consumers.

That, too, was something the N.C. Department of Agriculture inspectors found to be untrue. The state inspection sheet lists 73 separate items included on any dairy farm inspection that must be followed to safely provide milk to consumers. Of all the requirements, the dairy was found deficient in only two areas.

Environmental regulators came down harder on the farm, issuing six notices of violation, most of which involved the way animal waste was handled.

While problems were spotted at the farm, they were ones that can — and are being — corrected.

It is unfortunate PETA resorted to false and exaggerated claims to make their point. In doing so, the organization has caused unwarranted damage to innocent parties and has undermined consumer confidence in our food supply without justification.