Connecting Gate to Plate Blog

The Tears I’ve Shed… Animal Abuse


Today marks the release of yet another nasty video.  One more portrayal of animal abuse.  Another one that makes me cry.  You might be surprised that I’m not numb after a decade of monitoring the animal rights videos. Simply put, they make me sick.

I shed tears because this is B.S. that is so unfair to the great people who work their rears off to bring you milk, cheese, ice cream, etc. No dairy farmer that I know is looking for your pity, but I want to be sure food consumers understand that making milk is a 365 day/year commitment. A person is a part of the dairy business because they love it. It creeps into your soul as though you have no choice. And that love is the singular guiding factor when equipment breaks down at 3 a.m., a cow needs your help regardless of the family event you planned six months ago and your business operates in the red for six months because milk prices stink (again).

Farmers abuse calves

Still feeding heifers, including the one I respected enough to put down.

I shed tears when I see dairy calves so terribly abused. It’s deeply personal; calves are part of my earliest memories. At 6 years old, I swept our calf barn – and was thrilled to do so because  the calves were my friends that I could sing and dance for. As a teenager, I gave my FFA speeches to our cows (they always gave me a standing ovation). I knew they were there to produce food and would eventually die, but I’ve always considered it a privilege to spend time with the great dairy cow. True cow people consider it an honor to work with animals. That alone would make me think about grabbing the person who was in front of the camera on these “undercover farm videos” and toss them farther than they tossed that poor calf. I’ll never condone physical violence, but  I would likely consider the same action for the videographer because there’s no way any true animal lover could watch “calf cruelty” like that. Did I mention that I kickbox?

My lifetime includes thousands of tears about animals that we worked so hard to save and couldn’t. Just this winter,  I had to make the decision to put my favorite heifer down.  After enlisting the help of a vet and our dairy farm neighbor who diligently cared for her, her condition degraded. This wasn’t just any heifer; it was one of the best descendants from a cow family I’ve developed since I was 12. And the daughter of a cow that our little peep helped show at age 1 1/2.  Big emotional investment. But out of respect for the animal, I knew she had to be euthanized. And yes, I cried.

Some try to argue that there’s no way farmers can love animals since livestock are put to death for food. It’s called perspective on the life cycle. Our family gives thanks at every meal for the food, animals who make it possible and farmers who raise the food.  Grace around the farm tables across the country echo this. Animals are entrusted to farmers to be cared for with respect. If you’ve come upon this post as a food consumer, please find a farmer who raises animals for food production and have a conversation. If you need that connection, let me know and I’ll help you. It’s not that farmers and ranchers don’t want to talk – they’re just a bit occupied with caring for their land and animals.

Dairy farmer talks Mercy for Animals

Do prostitutes represent all women? Animal abuse videos also aren't representative of dairy farm families.

All I have to do is look at the pictures in Mercy for Animals (MFA) propaganda and I shed a tear for images that can be likened to prostitutes representing all females. Some would describe it as gross, others are sickened, while some of the population tries to ban it. But in both cases, the images are not a fair representation of the population. My girlfriend who milks my cows is no more of a prostitute than she is an animal abuser.  Nor am I. And it breaks my heart to know that some think that’s all there is to farmers. Isn’t it time we change that with a conversation? Take responsibility today!


  1. […] Cause Matters The Tears I’ve Shed…. Animal Abuse […]

  2. No Mercy For Animal Abuse | Haley Farms on April 20, 2011 at 4:36 am

    […] Cause Matters The Tears I've Shed…. Animal Abuse […]

  3. […] Michele Payn-Knoper – The Tears I’ve Shed… Animal Abuse […]

  4. Animal Abuse | From the Tractor Seat on April 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    […] I grabbed my crackberry and checked twitter. There I found two blog posts from Haley Farms and  Michele Payne-Knoper, both expressing their disgust, anger and outrage about the contents of the recent Mercy for […]

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 21, 2011 at 1:19 am

      Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wing Acres Dairy on April 20, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks Michele, knowing it brought you to tears is enough of a warning. I won’t be able to watch. Knowing the demands of dairy farming from working on farms as a teen, didn’t prevent me from marrying a dairy farmer and leaving my government job in the dust. I have no greater calling than to be a wife to my husband, mother to my children and the best care giver to my herd and our land possible. Tears are only the beginning of the emotions that a true dairy farmer feels when they loose an animal or see someone else abusing one.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 21, 2011 at 1:19 am

      You were wise to not to watch; it’s an insult to both humans and animal husbandry. Delighted to to hear of your calling; please do everything you can to share what you do daily to honor that. These videos are going to keep coming. We stand a chance of putting a face on the plate if people like you can connect with those off the farm. Thank you for your work!

  6. Ellen @ Real CA Milk on April 20, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    A very sad day for cattle (and livestock) lovers… a horrific video and a sad example of production agriculture. I need an antacid to settle my stomach and I’m off to hug our calves…

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 21, 2011 at 1:17 am

      Yes, it has been a very sad day. I hope you will use this as reason to share your animal care story daily for the next 60 days. In person, on Facebook, tweets, pictures, videos all count. We can’t wait to be reactive or we lose.

  7. thefarmerslife on April 20, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    In spite of this video being released I was proud of all the farmers and ranchers I say on twitter today posting videos of how they care for their animals. One bad apple can ruin the whole bunch, and it was great to see livestock owners putting themselves out for everyone to see what really goes on in most operations. We used to raise hogs, and have great childhood memories of dad bringing piglets down to the house for us to play with.

    I can image how tough it was to put your own cow down. Although not livestock obviously I had a dog, Bonnie, who was with me from middle school until I was 28. She was getting up in age, but in perfect health. She had developed a fear of storms that got worse and worse. We went to great lengths to keep her contained on stormy days when we had to be at work (I wasn’t farming at this time). She broke through wire panels, garage service doors with sheetmetal screwed to them for reinforcement and more. I had to make the hard decision to put her to sleep before she badly injured herself. It’s been almost three years since then and I can’t type this without tearing up. Livestock or not our bond with animals is very close.

    Thanks again to all the people who posted about proper animal care today.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 21, 2011 at 1:22 am

      Yes, it’s been great to see farmers and ranchers stepping forward with their story. Our new reality is that we must do this daily – and not wait to respond to these nasty videos. Appreciate your story about your dog; I don’t think people realize the depth of emotions involved with farming. Thanks for your comments.

  8. 100% NOT ok « Cow Spots and Tales on April 21, 2011 at 12:43 am

    […] Cause Matters Blog […]

  9. […] Cause Matters The Tears I’ve Shed…. Animal Abuse […]

  10. Dolores on April 21, 2011 at 1:13 am

    If you really cared about animals you wouldn’t use them in ANY way. C’mon, would you honestly care if I “thanked” you after I killed you? Or you descendants?

    The prostitute example was plain offensive and ignorant.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 21, 2011 at 1:15 am

      Thanks for your comment, Dolores, but I have to respectfully disagree as humans and animals are not the same. The the prostitute example was intended to be offensive, just as lumping all farmers into one category is offensive.

    • Jim on April 21, 2011 at 3:24 am

      As a person who is very close to someone who has been victimized by an animal rights “undercover” video, I believe I can provide a better example.

      In the days, weeks, and months following the video, my friend was frequently harassed by members of the animal rights community with vulgar messages, and threats of death and violence against his family. Animal rights groups claim that these sick individuals ‘do not represent all animal lovers and animal rights activists.’ The farmer’s side of the story after the video release is never told because animal rights groups work so hard to suppress the exhibition of individuals who might portray the movement in a negative light.

      So if animal rights groups are allowed to say that people calling and threatening HUMAN lives are not representative of the population, why can’t agriculture do the same? I say with absolute certainty that there is a dark side to the animal rights movement that they do not want you to know about.

      • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

        Jim, thanks for sharing your story. I know farms like those you cite needed law enforcement to protect them and there is a very dark side to the animal rights movement (saw this firsthand at Michigan State where they tried to burn down ag buildings). However, I would never recommend that agriculture follow that path. We MUST maintain our ethics, represent farming with integrity and connect our values. If we stoop to their level, we will lose the opportunity to connect with the majority of the population. I hope you can focus on the 70-80% that you can positively influence. And I’m sorry for your friend’s victimization.

  11. […] Cause Matters The Tears I’ve Shed…. Animal Abuse […]

  12. Leslie on April 21, 2011 at 2:54 am

    Michele, I feel compelled to post a response here. I just finished writing a post on my blog titled The Fullness of Truth and Grace so I hope my response will embody both of those. There are those of us in the vegan/animal activist community who do not believe that MFA’s videos represent the whole truth about dairy farmers. We understand there is a vast difference between families who farm and factories that produce, dairy products. Your love and respect for the cows in your care is what one would expect from any normal human being. And, of course, the commitment and work ethic is admirable.

    We don’t take issue with any of that. However, we do take issue with these factories like the one portrayed in MFA’s video. The truth is that these factories treat animals as commodities, things to be used and used up. There is no love, there is no care, there are no tears, there is only money and greed and it is unconscionable.

    And while we can agree that family farms are not factories, I still find it disturbing that your descriptions of the heifer all revolved around what she did for you and yours. She was the matriarch of one of the best cow lines YOU developed, for the purpose I suppose (perhaps incorrectly) of milking. What happened to all her babies, especially the males who are of little use on a dairy farm outside of breeding? Was she able to raise them or did they get sold to the highest bidder at auction for breeding or for slaughter? Did you think about whether she had any feelings about them or desire to nurture and care for them as mothers do? Did you consider at all what would be the best thing for her or what she might want? Or did that moment come only when it came to alleviating her suffering from illness with euthanasia? I didn’t see one statement about her that pertained just to her being. What was she like? Was she sweet-tempered and affectionate or ornery? Did she have habits or likes or dislikes? Did she ever do things you thought were funny or annoying? Did she ever get into trouble or do something special? I don’t know the answer to these questions that I’m genuinely asking, so please answer them if the spirit moves you.

    What I’m trying to point out is that animals are NOT just here for our use. And while they are not human, they are individuals. You state that animals and people are different, but so what? It is not anthropomorphic to state that animals are alive, sentient with a will to live and do the things they naturally do. If they can feel pain and suffer to some degree then it’s logical to think they can also feel pleasure and happiness. By your argument of “different” we could justify all kinds of treatment of people who are “different” from us, say those with a lower IQ or physical handicap.

    I will agree with you on perspective of the life cycle. We all die, and because I’m Christian, I believe that death will always bring new life if we let it. But personally, I don’t see the point of inflicting death unnecessarily, which is how I view the taking of sentient life for food. This is a personal choice of course, but I can live healthfully, longer, creatively and with great enjoyment and pleasure on the vast variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds that exist in this world, and in doing so can appreciate and be thankful for the life I have NOT taken.

    Looking forward to your response,

    • Brandy on April 21, 2011 at 4:26 pm

      Just one point. I would like to bring up and really want to understand from a vegetarian. You talk about not taking life but what about the poor carrots,etc.? Are they not living things? I eat healthy which includes meatin moderation. Moderation is key to being healthy. You cannot blame meat.

      • Natalie on April 22, 2011 at 9:39 pm

        Brandy, I find it difficult to believe that you don’t see a difference between a cow and a carrot. One has a central nervous system; the other does not. One has a brain; the other does not. One has emotions, etc. Should we just eat humans in moderation? Of course not. And really, if you are concerned with the lives of carrots, the best way to eat fewer of them is to be a vegetarian. It’s more efficient to eat the foods directly then to feed them to animals.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Leslie, thank you for your comments and sorry I was offline all day yesterday. I can appreciate that you’ve chosen a vegan lifestyle and am not here to change your mind about that. However, I do take issue with calling farms factories. What exactly defines a factory farm? Is a family that milks 1000 cows a factory farm? I think it’s unfair to paint a family with that brush until you’ve been on their operation, see the care and standards of today’s farm.

      As far as your viewpoint on animals, we will have to agree to disagree. The bible clearly gives humans dominions over animals. My dog is not equivalent to my child. Nor are our cattle equivalent to our friends. And I truly don’t mean any disrespect, but eating plants requires plants to die as well. I’d love to hear back about how this is acceptable – it’s a point many of us are curious about.

      I appreciate your positive comment; we don’t all have to agree and it’s nice not be attacked, as so many of us in agriculture have been.

      • Reyna on April 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm

        As a former vegan who is hoping to become a production animal veterinarian, I see both sides of the coin here. Sorry in advance that this is so long.

        First, the “don’t the carrots die too?” argument is kind of silly. And I know you’re not supposed to open a debate or discourse with calling someone else’s point “silly,” but I can’t help it. A carrot is not sentient. A cow, chicken, horse, hog… all sentient. It’s a very obvious distinction. The vegan point is never anti-death, it’s anti-suffering of a sentient being. I feel that the “What about the carrots?!?!” comment both over simplifies and belittles the vegan’s argument.

        On the flip side, the argument that we shouldn’t eat meat is also kinda silly. Our bodies require it. We are omnivores. This isn’t about the bible. While the bible does say at some point something about dominion, it also says a lot of stuff about stoning people and other violent actions we’d think unconscionable today. Everyone has their own belief system, so it’s better to just leave it to science. We’re omnivores. We eat meat and eggs and veggies and fruit and fungi. And we need them all. And besides, where do you think all the organic fertilizer comes from to grow all those veggies the vegans? Yeah – dairies, farms and ranches. Unless a vegan grows all their own food with their own compost, they’re a part of the meat/dairy/egg food system too.

        P.S. There’s not one study in the world that shows a vegan diet to be more healthy than a balanced omnivore diet. You may believe you’ll live longer, but there’s zero evidence to support that belief.

        And back again to the “what exactly is a factory farm?” I love honest to god farmers. Why honest to god farmers insist on circling the wagons and defending large scale animal production is beyond me. Factory farms exist. You know and I know it. The eat up subsidies, drive the price of your dairy, egg and meat products down, down down and make life very difficult for the average family farm. There’s no emotional attachment to the farm, to the animals, it just a money making operation and animal welfare be damned.

        I’m not going to put an absolute number on what the cut off between factory and family is, but in general it’s whatever number is too many for the animals to receive care and basic comfort. By this I mean, there should not be so many animals that abscesses, lameness and prolapses go completely untreated. There shouldn’t be so many animals that some have no choice other than to be defecated on or to stand in feces their entire lives. Does anyone really thing battery cages for hens are OK? Or that sows should spend their entire lives in sow stalls? And can we all agree that a downed, spent dairy cow should be shot and rendered not forklifted on into the food supply? Pointing out what is wrong in your own industry is by no means damning the family farm or food purveyors in general. It would only give a better, more honest look into what farming really should be.

        The thing with most of the animal rights videos is that they’re made to shock. They reveal psychopaths dishing out horrific abuses. They hardly ever capture the equally horrific but boring side of super large scale farming because that’s just not shocking enough to make the news.

        Family farmers need to realize that animal rights people and vegans are not their serious enemies. They are so easy to neutralize. Be open and honest about your industry. What’s done right and what’s not. How production and slaughter processes has been and can continue to be improved for the welfare of the animals. Explain why your current practices are provide care and comfort for the animals while providing high quality food for the nation. Be transparent.

        The true threat to your honorable way of life is corporate agriculture. The guys lobbying Washington for tax breaks and legislation favorable only to themselves. The guys suing farmers for saving seed from crops that were cross contaminated by GMOs ten fields away. The guys forcing family scale poultry producers into immense debt for the “opportunity” to raise meat birds for a pittance, while making it near impossible for small scale farms to sell their own meat.

        We need to support family farms in every way we can. We need to make food more of a local experience. More small-scale operations both on the production side and the slaughter side. We need to not be so disconnected from our food sources, to understand and appreciate all the farmer does for us day in and day out. And we need to be willing to pay more for family produced foods. Isn’t it better to pay your neighbor a buck for a big delicious apple than to send 50 cents to Chile for two mealy ones?

        The truth is, there will always be people who won’t feel right eating meat or eggs or enjoying a delicious glass of whole milk. That’s fine. Leaves more bacon for the rest of us.

        • Natalie on April 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm

          Hi Reyna,
          I agree with many things you’ve said, particularly your statements about the absurdity of both defending factory farms and comparing an animal to a vegetable, but I do think that your statement about there being no evidence of improved health outcomes with a vegan diet may be off base. In fact, I think the science is pretty conclusive. For example, this study by the Journal of Diabetes Care (a very non-biased source) just came out last month:

          Moreover, I highly recommend The China Study, a book written by T Colin Campbell, a renowned biochemist who has researched diet and health extensively. A new film documenting his findings is being released around the country:

        • DebbieLB on April 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm

          Reyna, I really appreciate your post. I agree with much of what you said, but I still think that you do not have a good appreciation for what it takes to raise a family on a farming income. Many times multiple generations are working together on a farm or ranch and often they do take the legal step of incorporating for tax purposes and liability–as well as estate planning. Therefore, many so-called “factory farms” are really incorporated family farms that are owned and operated by family members. In order to support the needs of a multi-generation family, a large number of animals or amount of land is required. The profit margin is quite slim most years, and it takes lots of numbers to make enough money to provide for 2 or 3 different families on the farm.

          That being said, I have never in my life seen a ranch where abscesses, lameness or prolapse goes untreated! I have never seen a place where they have too many cattle to care for properly–instead, I see ranchers spending 12 hour days in a blizzard to feed and protect their cattle or hog operators missing their son’s basketball game due to a sow farrowing.

          We do all we can to prevent illness, and when one of our 500+ head of cattle gets sick, we treat it as fast as we can! We are not unique–we are just like every other rancher in our area. We are also certainly not the biggest, but we are far from being the smallest ranch around us. But our focus is to do things RIGHT.

          I absolutely hate the term “factory farm” and I have yet to find one who treats their livestock like a factory. I can only speak from experience on a cattle ranch, but that term is representative of absolutely none I’ve ever seen.

  13. […] Cause Matters: The Tears I’ve Shed…Animal Abuse […]

  14. NotAgain on April 22, 2011 at 8:13 am

    That farmer who hired those heartless morons should be shut down and charged with animal abuse and those cruel animals should be deported.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 22, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks for stopping by. I know farmers who follow all the right procedures in hiring people (including a contract that says they are not animal rights activists), have anti-abuse policies and clear protocol on how to treat animals. “The heartless morons” clearly have other intentions, for which I don’t think you can blame the farmer. Are schools shut down when a teachers abuses a child? Please don’t place full blame on farmers.

      • Reyna on April 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm

        Actually, the rancher in this situation seems to have publicly taken full blame. As he should. The buck stops with him. He alone is responsible for implementing a comprehensive training program to ensure that the abuse that happened on his production lot did not take place.

        Why weren’t the hired help trained to better handle the calves? Every single calf in that video could have been shot or dispatched humanely with a bolt gun. Did he make the necessary equipment and training available? And why wasn’t there an overall culture of compassion whereby any one bad apple would be reported by fellow employees and subsequently fired and better yet, arrested?

        Unlike many other videos from this organization that do focus on the random psychopath, the practices here are NOT that uncommon on big production lots. The horn bud cauterizing is always thrown in for shock. That doesn’t bother me. It’s the hammer and pickax that are completely horrific.

        Again, if you have too many animals to tend to, too big a lot to manage effectively, too many employees to properly train and monitor, you are factory farming.

        Ignorance is not a valid excuse.

        Stop giving the animals rights people the footage they need. Be aggressively intolerant of the abuse and neglect that happens within your industry.

        One of the reasons why I want to work in production animal medicine is to shine the light on all that is right with American farms, to support the small and mid-sized farmers the best I can. I firmly believe in advancing animal welfare. Well cared for animals produce more and quite simply, taste better. I believe most farmers feel the same way.

        A vast majority of small and mid-scale farmers are wonderful people, connected to the land and their animals. But you need to understand that an media attack on a large scale production lot isn’t an attack on you, your lively hood or the traditional American farm. It’s a valid criticism on what happens when big ag takes over and bastardizes a beautiful, honorable profession.

        What I want more than anything is the American family farmer to be paid what they deserve, for people to understand better understand farm practices (removing horns is important, city people, and not that traumatic to the animal!) and the sacrifices that are made to put food on our tables. But I’d also like the farming/ranching community to be a little more honest about some less than humane production practices and a lot more self-policing.

  15. Tears Over the E6 Cattle Investigation on April 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    […] the guy swinging the pick ax had love for the dairy business creep into his soul. (Via Jolley.) Link. Spread the […]

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      That person wasn’t a farmer.

  16. Tears Over the E6 Cattle Investigation on April 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    […] No doubt the guy swinging the pick ax had love for the dairy business creep into his soul. (Via Jolley.) Link. […]

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 22, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      The person who did that (as well as the person who video taped it) were clearly employees, not farmers.

  17. Nikkee on April 22, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    You don’t condone physical violence, yet you are involved in an industry that is inherently violent. Please tell me that shipping “spent” cows off for slaughter is not violent. Or dehorning, tail docking, or castration. Are these all considered non-violent?

    I’ve read the NMPF animal welfare handbook. I don’t know about you, but teaching dairy farmers how to slash a cows throat seems pretty violent to me.

    Nazis were really passionate, as well. I guess patriotic would be the word. But it doesn’t make them any less accountable for the damage they inflicted on the world.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 25, 2011 at 1:35 pm

      Nikkee, thanks for your comments. Perhaps you can elaborate on what you think should happen with cows that have reached the end of their productive life? I see shipping as the most humane option, given the fact that they’d never survive in the wild. And the environmental implications of having all animals roam free are far-reaching. Practices like dehorning and castration actually save animals from hurting each other. Have you ever seen the damage caused by an animal with horns or a 1500-pound bull? I have, and I’ll always choose the more humane practice.

  18. Barbara on April 23, 2011 at 3:32 am

    OK, I read your story and it is good to know there are decent farmers. Now please read mine:

    It is up to YOU, farmers, to stop this horrible abuse from happening. What I mean is when you read these stories of abuse, see the videos, CALL THESE PEOPLE AND COMPANIES OUT. LOUDLY. Politicians don’t listen to average citizens – they don’t care what we think. If the agriculture industry vocally condemns this crap and stops trying to hide it, maybe it will stop. Until then the only thing average citizens can do, who are totally disgusted with this horrible behavior, is to stop consuming animal products. So agriculture community – step up and make it know to the people in D.C. that you want action against these abuses, not bills created to hide it from the public.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Barbara. I appreciate your comments and passion. Believe me, farmers would line up if there was a way to stop these stories of abuse. I know very few that would support the bad actors. In fact, many farms today have employees sign contracts stating they are not animal rights activists and agree to proper animal handling.

      But the reality is that humans will make a choice and farmers cannot control all of those choices. Farmers will fire employees who are caught abusing animals – and support criminal action. The reality is that some people go on the farm with ill intent; either towards animals or farmers. They horrifically abuse animals while another person stands by and video tapes it. Should the farmer be jailed because of the individual actions on his/her farm? Before you answer this, consider whether a school should be closed for a teacher’s poor choice in abusing a child. And then factor in the likelihood that some of these abusers are paid to go on a farm to “capture” such video.

      We in agriculture are as disgusted as anyone. Our disgust stems from seeing the pain in the animal’s eyes and the misrepresentation of farmers. We’d welcome suggestions in how to positively address this.

  19. DebbieLB on April 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Michele: Thanks for sharing your story about your heifer who had to be put down this year. I too have shed tears over the loss of a calf at calving, a special cow who had a unique personality or even a cow who never really stood out from the herd but who became either sick or injured. The people who raise livestock really care about them–they must in order to put the livestock needs over their own comfort.

    I’ve saved newborn calves in a blizzard, treated cows who suffered from insect-borne disease, spent weeks of long days on a tractor to bale hay to feed cattle in the winter and put off opening Christmas presents on Christmas Day until the cattle are fed. I have also tickled the ears of a calf sunning himself on a spring day, watched yearlings frisk in the crisp fall mornings and smiled as one-ton bulls frolicked in a bed of straw surrounded by the deep snow of winter. I love cattle, and the work and commitment that I endure to be a part of this life is worth it!

    Abuse videos will continue to surface from time to time, just as children are abused, women are raped, houses are burglarized…etc. It is a serious crime and should be punished. But 99.9% of the people who raise livestock really enjoy them! Don’t judge me by one man’s crime. Come see my ranch, work by my side and see how we care for our cattle. I hope that more people will tell our story about how we care for livestock every single day! Then when the hideous stories of these crimes come up, we can see them for what they are: an atrocity that we will not allow to continue.

    • Michele Payn-Knoper on April 25, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks, Debbie, for sharing your story here. I think you summed it up beautifully with the fact that people who raise livestock have to care about them in order to put the animals’ needs first. You are correct that abuse videos will continue to surface. As I’ve pointed out elsewhere, you don’t shut down the school because of one teacher abusing a child. The same is true of a farm, particularly when temployees clearly go against the owner’s wishes and protocol on animal abuse. I hope you’ll keep encouraging more in livestock to have the positive discussion about animal care.

  20. […] we grabbed my crackberry and checked twitter. There we found dual blog posts from Haley Farms and  Michele Payne-Knoper, both expressing their disgust, annoy and snub about a essence of a new Mercy for Animals video on […]

  21. Animal Cruelty « hannahhodges on October 19, 2011 at 2:30 am

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