Wisconsin Dairy Workers Charged with Animal Cruelty

Video so brutal it requires proof of age to view

Mercy for AnimalsA fallen live cow being dragged by a tractor last December on the Wiese Brothers Farm.
The video the group Mercy for Animals released last December were, in all senses of the word, brutal. The edited clips allegedly showed dairy cows at the Wiese Brothers Farm being beaten, kicked, whipped, injured, and dragged along the ground by tractors when they were too ill or hurt to move. The images are so disturbing that YouTube makes you sign in as a proof of age.

The video went viral on the Internet, according to radio station WTAQ. And now it appears that four dairy workers have been charged with mistreating animals, according to the Racine Country Journal Times. Abelardo Jaimes, Lucia Martinez, Misael Monge-Minero, and Crescencio Pineda allegedly each faces two or three charges, with each charge carrying a maximum penalty of nine months in prison and a $10,000 fine.

National livestock expert and Colorado State University professor Temple Grandin called the behavior exhibited in the footage "severe animal abuse," according to a statement on a site run by Mercy for Animals. "The actions of these people went beyond rough handling and escalated to the level of cruelty. Kicking, beating, and hard whipping of downed cows is abusive."

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wiese Brothers has one of the largest dairy operations in the state, with 8,000 cows, 2,500 of which produce milk. The Wiese family released a statement saying that it was "shocked and saddened" by the video. The farm said that it fired two workers and reassigned one to non-animal duties. The business also said at the time that it was cooperating with a Brown County Sheriff's Department investigation.

The farm was formerly a supplier to Nestlé USA, which used the milk in some cheese on its DiGiorno pizzas, and a milk cooperative called Foremost Farms. Both companies cut ties with Wiese. Nestlé said the following in a statement:

"Nestlé is outraged and deeply saddened by the mistreatment of animals shown in this video. We buy cheese from Foremost Farms (of Baraboo), which gets milk from the Wiese Brothers Farm. However, we do expect all of our suppliers and their suppliers to meet our stringent guidelines. We have advised Foremost Farms that we will not accept any cheese made with milk from the Wiese Brothers Farm."

In a statement, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation also called the behavior "reprehensible and disgusting" and said that "there is no place for this sort of behavior on farms."

State Veterinarian Paul J. McGraw told the Journal Sentinel that he thought animal cruelty on farms was uncommon, but that it could happen on any size establishment.

Some farmers said that some of the scenes could be misinterpreted, according to another Journal Sentinel report. "When you have a downed cow with milk fever, you have to try and get her back on her feet as soon as possible," said dairy farmer Paul Rozadowski to the paper. "Otherwise, the muscles in the back of her legs turn to mush and she will never get up again." But the farmers who said some of the scenes could be explained did not try to defend others, like the suspension in mid-air of a disabled cow by a mechanical lift.

The four defendants are scheduled to appear in court on March 4.

Farm owner Mark Wiese told the Journal Times that employees are required to read and sign a human treatment policy and that, since the video, the farm has taken additional steps, including having a supervisor monitor care when a cow falls or drops and having three specialists for animals that cannot stand because of illness or injury.

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I am so saddened by the mistreatment of these beautiful animals, it literally breaks my heart. What kind of monsters are these men?? just despicable behavior this is, "severe animal abuse" is what it is. These are the type of men who eventually murder, it means absolutely nothing to them, they have no conscious, no empathy, no dam heart at all. It just makes me sick. As far as I m concerned this is all about cheap labor all at the cost of these poor animals, now what's that to say about the owners, they are all about $$$ I'd really like to know the outcome of all of this but I am not sure I will. What I do know is something has to be done asap and if we don't become active this will continue to go and on ...nothing will change. I hope these SOB's get what they deserve, and hopefully they all get deported as well.

April 11 2014 at 8:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I did not read this entire list of comments and I apologize for asking this if it has been answered: Do these abusers have legal status to be in this country? If not, did Weise Brothers hire them illegally ? The trial starts March 4, 2014. I am curious to know if this will come up. I'm afraid that this is typical of hiring practices on huge farms.

February 28 2014 at 9:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Amazing none seemed to speak English, this is the type Obama wants to give our country too. Hope they all go to jail then deported

February 19 2014 at 9:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to txholdemsdarlin's comment

Depeort, Why pay for three meals and cot. Ice is told to let them go...in another area....I t makes ya sick!

February 20 2014 at 9:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Diane Osburn

That is what we want , just large commercial , high producing operations that are monitored by the gov , right ? It is all about the MONEY and NOTHING to do with animal welfare .

February 18 2014 at 11:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Harry P. Ness

Yes, lets give these animals (not the cows) citizenship! I hope these SOB's get some jail time at minimum. Words defy my anger at this needless abuse of these animals. But this is perfectly acceptable when your from a third world sewer.

February 18 2014 at 9:32 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

and the owners are saying they didn't know about this?! I hope this farm goes out of business and any company that does business with them loses customers

February 18 2014 at 8:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
gary d

it's a lot less violent than all the ppl killed by PETA. or how about the 3600 babies the libs butcher everyday in America. that's a big mac on the floor, not your children. save a child from a lib and have a big mac.

February 18 2014 at 7:36 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I could cure this if you'd just give me a week with these as*holes ..... I promise !!

February 18 2014 at 6:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Michael's comment

I hope someone does--these people should be jailed. If they do this to animals what are they capable of doing to humans? So sickening--but it's like all the small people who can only abuse animals because they are just cowards. They couldn't stand up to a real man so they make themselves important by abusing helpless animals. Jailtime should be their punishment--not a slap on the wrist. The owners of the company must accept blame if they aren't checking on their workers. Are all these workers legal??? If not fine the owners and maybe they won't hire undocumented workers. in the future. I will bet we will never hear the outcome of the punishment (if any) these abusers received. if they were ever brought to court. and of course we will all forget by next week.

February 19 2014 at 4:27 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Oh yeah, the statements by the owners of ignorance are complete BS! They know what goes on. Witness the difficulty of and measures utilized by groups such as these to obtain these videos. Do you think a bunch of lowly, most possibly undocumented farm workers have unionized and persuaded legislatures at the state levels to write and pass anti farming spy filming laws? NO! It's the large farming owners/interests that have tried to keep this all in the the dark. Yes, they know exactly what it is they want you all to not see.

February 18 2014 at 5:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Testdriver's comment

You are so correct!!! Everything seems to be swept under the rug--even the government--and we the people never seem to get a straight answer.

February 19 2014 at 4:30 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I couldn't watch it, either...but check your history books, folks...I believe all serial killers tortured animals as children. I'm not saying anyone who abuses animals are serial killers, but for the most part, the inverse is true...

February 18 2014 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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