Story By: Kathryn Quinn, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
Video Credit: CEN/ SOKO Tierschutz e.V.
Three companies and fifteen people are being investigated following the uncovering of hidden camera footage reportedly filmed at one of Bavaria’s largest dairy farms showing horrific abuse of cows.
Investigators fear the cruelty it showed is much more widespread than previously thought with the investigation being expanded to look at other farms in the same area.
The footage from the summer shows a pregnant cow apparently being shot while giving birth as others are kicked and dragged by diggers, and are seen dying in horrific conditions.
The treatment of the cows, reportedly at the Endres dairy farm in Bad Groenenbach, in the district of Unterallgaeu in Bavaria, in Germany, was secretly filmed for thirty days during May and June and shows them being cruelly tortured.
The footage shows the appalling treatment of the animals at the farm where they were starved, left thirsty and abused, according to a report by the animal activist organisation Soko Tierschutz.
The footage shows animals being beaten and left to die, with their carcasses then stored next to the living, with a pile of dead cows visibly rotting near or in one of the farm buildings.
Now after a few months of investigations the public prosecutor has confirmed that the owner of the company, workers as well as three vets, are being investigated. But also confirmed that in total three companies and fifteen people not connected to the Endres dairy farm are also being investigated. They added that the various dairy farms are not connected with one another.
The first organisation in the video footage is one of Germany’s biggest dairy farms with 2,800 dairy cows. The second organisation has 1,800 dairy cows and the third has around 600 dairy cows. On average Bavarian dairy farmers have 40 cows each.
The footage is from company one but company two and three are also being investigated for similar accusations of animal cruelty. Company two is being investigated for not having enough space in enclosures as well as allegations that the animals space for feeding did not meet legal requirements.
The third company is accused of not meeting controls for sick calves who did not have access to food and water. It is also alleged some of the cows were kept in muddles of water, faeces and urine.
If the allegations prove to be true the farmers and staff can face hefty fines as well as up to a three-year jail sentence under animal cruelty laws.
The prosecutor confirmed they will be interviewing the owners and staff at the Bad Groenenbach milk plant as part of their investigation.
The report by the animal activist organisation found that the animals were often left suffering from their injuries and dying a slow death instead of being put out of their misery.
Dozens of cows that were reportedly sick were taken to a slaughterhouse – the Vion Slaughterhouse, even though the slaughter of sick cows is banned.
Soko reported Vion to the police for the alleged slaughter of sick animals. Soko have filed charges against Endres for animal abuse. They also filed charges against the vet in charge of the animals claiming that he was involved in covering up the mistreatment of the animals.
Friedrich Mulln from Soko in Augsburg in Bavaria, Germany said: “This research has uncovered the myth of milk production in the idyllic Allgau region. It has long been part of the mass farming techniques which have terrible consequences for the animals. Everyone knows about the horrid consequences of mass livestock farming of pigs and poultry.
The investigation continues.
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