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PETA Undercover Investigations Update: Jerry and Peter

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PETA Undercover Investigations Update: Jerry and Peter by Guest BloggerOn October 1 of last year, we published a blog about our undercover investigation inside a filthy dairy factory farm in Pennsylvania that supplies milk to Land O’Lakes. As a result of our investigation, the owners of the farm were charged with cruelty to animals. We received numerous e-mail inquires about the condition of the animals we rescued, so we asked Teresa Chagrin, a PETA animal care and control specialist who was lucky enough to visit the animals earlier this month, to give us a special update.

When PETA’s undercover investigator first sent photos and video footage of Jerry and Peter to PETA headquarters, I was doubtful that the calves would live to experience clean earth beneath their feet, fresh air in their lungs, and warm sunlight on their fur. Jerry couldn’t see, and Peter couldn’t stand. They both were infested with lice and had ringworm infections and pinkeye. Peter was nearly drowning in the urine-soaked and feces-covered pen in which he was confined.

Both male calves were born on a dairy factory farm in Pennsylvania. Of course, the reason that female cows produce milk is to feed their own calves (not people!), which means that they must be impregnated and give birth before they will lactate. Although considered by their mothers to be beloved infants, male calves are considered by farmers to be inconvenient byproducts—just something to get rid of in the milk-generating process. Female calves are doomed to a lifetime of milk production.

On this particular factory farm, the conditions were so filthy that cows were forced to live ankle-deep in their own waste, and many calves went blind from painful pinkeye infections. Dead animals were left in a barn with live animals for days. In fact, one mother cow was left in a stall with the bloody body of her calf.

PETA’s investigator purchased Peter and Jerry, and we rushed them to The Cow Sanctuary, which is run by Helga Tacreiter, an honest-to-goodness guardian angel to cows on Earth. With much love and medical treatment, both survived. I had the good fortune to visit Peter and Jerry last weekend in order to report on their progress. Their transformations are hard to believe and so heartwarming!

Jerry is a shy type. He will likely always be a sort of wall flower because of physical challenges caused by the diseases that plagued him and his mother on the filthy farm. His sight is impaired from pinkeye scarring, which may have heightened his sense of smell. It’s precious the way that he walks along sniffing everything on the ground—the earth, plants, and rocks—much like a large hound dog. He seems to like to stand near fences, which might help him feel secure, and he is often found standing side-by-side with Peter, the other calf who was rescued from the dairy farm.

Peter always looks out for Jerry, but he also spends a lot of time with Victor, the smallest and youngest of the three babies at the sanctuary. Victor came to the sanctuary just a couple of days after Peter—he was rescued by a local animal control department from a religious family who was going to sacrifice him in a ceremony. The three boy calves comprise their own separate herd but play with the big cows when supervised. Peter and Victor interact with the big cows in much the same way that puppies and kittens do with adult dogs and cats—always trying to get them to play when the adults just want to rest. They love to get chin scratches and treats such as apples and bread, which are part of the daily routine.

Helga believes that Peter will one day be the herd leader because of his serious confidence and great personality. I agree, and it brings tears to my eyes when I remember the video and photos of him when he was first seen by our investigator. Not only did Jerry and Peter survive to know physical comfort and emotional stability, they are also both very happy.

And little Victor makes three. A perfect little herd of growing young steers who will live out a natural life—something that is extremely rare for cows today. By becoming a PETA monthly donor, you’ll allow us to continue saving animals like Jerry and Peter through our groundbreaking investigative work. You can also help by letting your friends and family members know that laws covering animals used by the dairy industry are weak and by asking them to support our 12-point program and reduce their own consumption of dairy products.

Do you think that people know about the cruelty in the dairy industry?

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12 Comments

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    Linda says...

    April 2nd, 2010, 6:56 pm

    The majority of people know nothing about the dairy industry. I always have people asking me what is wrong with drinking milk? I always tell them they are taking milk from the babies it belongs to. I doubt that will stop them from drinking it. It’s a sad fact that most people just do not care what is happening on these farms. I do believe that as more people are enlightened about factory farms, that more are going to demand action about the cruel conditions the animals they must eat are living in. One step at a time..

    Pamela says...

    April 4th, 2010, 2:08 pm

    Was the farm itself shut down or were they fined and made to clean it up and take better care of them? I hope they shut their business down. Poor cows.

    Sonia says...

    April 6th, 2010, 3:01 pm

    An investigation could be desirable in Puerto Pico. So that the government take serious the problem of cruelty to animals. I do have hopes.

    Maria Quinones says...

    August 18th, 2011, 6:29 pm

    Oh no! what kind of people ..they are I’m from Puerto Rico too. what wrong with them don’t you have heart for animals..

    Jane Tzilvelis says...

    August 18th, 2011, 7:00 pm

    Growing seeds of wisdom, requires us to leave the comfortable ideologies we box ourselves within. I am very thankful that during my lifetime, Peta exists. They have done a magnificent job of educating humankind about the plight of other sentient beings than ourselves. Why would I want to drink milk after seeing how the cows are forced to live? No thank you.

    Those people who gather together to make money off the pain and suffering of animals are not free. They are prisoners of their evil deeds. They live lives of hypocrisy, and the longer they partake in such livlihood their lives are nothing. Societies will not miss them once they are gone.

    allan cooley says...

    August 18th, 2011, 7:17 pm

    Land o Lakes is a glossy, up scale not inexpensive dairy company.

    Isn’t there a negative publicity pressure point possibility here.., pressuring Land o Lakes to monitor their suppliers into humane and sanitary treatment..,? or else photos of conditions with Land o Lakes logo get circulated.

    And conversely, giving Land o Lakes the “Peta good corporate citizen award” for having a policy of sanitary and humane suppliers only.

    Jackie L. Holley says...

    August 18th, 2011, 7:31 pm

    I always thought as a child that living on a farm would be a wonderful place to live. Now that I am grown and have seen the horrors of being on a farm and the cruelty that is inflicted – what is the point? Where do they find people so mean to inflict such horrible things on these helpless animals. WHY are there not punishments for these people – and the punishments should be many years in jail. The people who hire these people should also be punished. When the punishment finally is as horrible as the pain that is inflicted to the animals.
    Thank you for working hard to stop this unbelievable shame – the people being so cruel truly need to be punished. The books written by Temple Grandin should be required reading.
    Thanks again.

    Laura A. Pippin says...

    August 18th, 2011, 8:01 pm

    There is horror in the slaughter house. A friend of ours works in one and said they bolt the cows in the head and they don’t die right away, they wander around in pain, then if they don’t die they club them until they do. God Bless the Cows and animals who suffer………………..

    JEAN says...

    August 18th, 2011, 10:21 pm

    It’s sad how the owners of these factories treat animals and that´s increasing at the same time as demand of the markets are increasing too.

    Bonnie Jo Morgan says...

    August 19th, 2011, 4:40 am

    there is no reason to drink cow milk ! it has been foisted on us by the dairy industry ..its not like it was back in the 50’s in the days of smaller farms .. I toured one as a child ..thats when we had raw milk and shook the bottle and the cream went to the bottom .. the cow sheds were immaculate and the cows were very clean and well cared for .. the owner was very proud of his cows ..today there is pus in the milk and conditions are filthy and the animals are treated like a commodity not an animal with feelings and basic needs of comfort and a decent life ..

    ITS AN ABOMINATION AND ITS CALLED FACTORY FARMING AND ITS RUN BY CORPORATE GREED MONGERS

    Deborah Mitchell says...

    August 19th, 2011, 4:35 pm

    When people asked me why I stopped eating meat, I told them because of factory farming and the inhumane treatment of animals before they are slaughtered and how they are slaughtered. Of course, they did not want to hear this nor do they want to hear how milk cows are treated in industrial dairies. It’s barbaric and should be stopped. Instead, our government tries to pass laws preventing Peta and other animal rights organizations from undercover investigations of factory farms to uncover the abuse, neglect and cruelty. Without Peta and other organizations determined to put an end to such suffering, these animals have no voice. Unfortunately, the people who are uninformed prefer to remain oblivious. That way they do not have to feel guilty for eating that steak, pork shop, or chicken wing. THESE ANIMALS ARE TREATED LIKE ANY OTHER MANUFACTURED MATERIAL, NOT LIKE LIVING, BREATHING BEINGS WITH FEELINGS. PATHETIC!

    Patti says...

    August 21st, 2011, 3:46 am

    It’s such a shame that the only people who typically read these types of stories and are aware of factory farm abuses are the ones who are already involved in helping or speaking out for the animals. The people who don’t know about these abuses or don’t WANT to know won’t read these stories. I’ve had people tell me they don’t want to know what goes on in factory farms or slaughter houses because they want to continue eating animal flesh or dairy products. They want to remain ignorant to the abuses. I wish PETA and other animal welfare organizations could bring these horrible abuse videos to mainstream local TV so people can’t help but see them. I’m sure so many more people would give up eating animals if they saw the abuses that go on.

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