South Florida Dairy Owners Respond to Animal Abuse Allegations

Abbey Taylor Cattle, Dairy

Larson family. Photo courtesy of Florida Dairy Farmers.

Owners and operators of Larson Dairy in Okeechobee, Florida are responding to allegations of animal abuse at their dairy farm, which has gotten a vast amount of media attention in recent days. The allegations were made by a Miami-based animal rights organization, which is known to send people to farms as “undercover employees” for the sole purpose of doing stories like this.

These allegations are coming from a viral video showing an employee of Larson Dairy mistreating a cow by using physical violence.

From the dairy farmer’s perspective, however, Larson Dairy owner-operators say they do not condone or tolerate mistreatment of their animals. Jacob Larson, farm manager at Larson Dairy, says they put their employees through an extensive hiring process to educate potential employees on proper animal care and management. Larson says when their employees are hired, they must sign documents stating their commitment to report any suspected abuse, or neglect of animals in any way, to their supervisor immediately upon witnessing any such situation.

Local law-enforcement officials are questioning the source of the allegations. The local sheriff stated at a press conference, “I really wish that the individuals that recorded this video would have given me this video at the time, because the abuse probably continued, unnecessarily, up until today.”

Larson says he believes the video was taken at least eight weeks ago, and this is the first time he has seen the video or heard of the abuse. Now, the local sheriff is pursuing a criminal investigation into the matter, so those involved in the abuse can be held fully accountable.

The dairy’s owners took immediate action upon hearing about the situation, firing one employee and putting others on leave pending further investigation.

As is usually the case with these types of agricultural accusations, there is a farmer side to the story.

AgNet Media president Gary Cooper, and Chuck Zimmerman from the online media Agwired.com, teamed up for this exclusive interview with Larson Dairy owner-operators, “Woody” Larson and Jacob Larson, who are doing their best to cope with the unexpected media storm.

Hear the interview: