It makes me sick, nearly to the point of vomiting. It hurts my eyes so much they start to close. It infuriates me so much that I cannot stay mute. Whenever I see an animal abuse video on my screen, it evokes an emotion that is hard to duplicate or even describe. I don’t care what it is or where it’s at, animal abuse will never be tolerated.
You see, what people fail to realize is that as dairy producers, we love our animals and care for them much more than we do ourselves. We do so knowing that with our skill set, we could have a shot at a higher wage, paid leave, benefits, and a 401k retirement plan. Instead, we choose to wake up early, throw on our clothes, and head out the door, not knowing when we will be back.
As a dairy producer, I will not defend nor tolerate animal abuse on the farm or off of it. I do not condone the mistreatment of any animal and will abide by the same rules I give to all my employees: “If you see it, stop it.” There is ZERO reason that it should ever happen.
On our facility, it is well-known that any sign of animal abuse is grounds for immediate termination. It is a fact that our cows are to be treated with the utmost respect and care. Everyone on the farm knows that if we take care of the cow, the cow will take care of us. It is this relationship that, you will find, is not only the easiest to abide by, but also the most profitable. A happy cow produces a lot of perfect milk.
The people I work with love cows and want to treat them the best they can. They are excited when everything is going great and sad when things are not. They, like myself, feel connected to the animal.
I know I am not alone. I know that many of you feel the same way.
The question is, if you were to see abuse, would you stop it, too?
Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.