PETA protests cow cruelty at PA dairy

The animal rights group PETA is staging a protest outside a grocery store in Philadelphia at noon today as part of a protest against cruel practices in factory dairy farms.

One protester in a cow suit and another wearing a body-screen TV showing newly released video footage taken by a whistleblower at a Pennsylvania farm that supplies Land O'Lakes. There also will be a ceremonial "milk" dumping at the store - the ShopRite at 29 Snyder Ave.

The undercover video—which shows sick, exhausted cows struggling to stand and being forced to hobble through a massive build-up of their own waste— shows the filth and suffering goes into the production of milk and other dairy products. The cows suffered from painful infections and severe lameness, and animals were kept in miserable conditions and deprived of even basic care. Some of the animals went untreated and were not put out of their misery when they were in pain and unable to stand, PETA says.

PETA is urging people to drop dairy products from their diets and boycott Land O'Lakes.

PETA launched the investigation after a whistleblower working at the farm became concerned about conditions there and contacted PETA for help earlier this year. Investigators discovered cows who were sick and unable to move, were denied medical care despite being in pain, and were abused by the farm's owners, PETA said. The farm's owners—Lloyd Reitz Sr. and is son Andy Reitz of Shamokin, Northumberland County —have been charged with animal cruelty.

For its part, Land O'Lakes released the following statement that was published in the Republican-Standard newspaper:

"...It's important to emphasize that Land O'Lakes is strongly committed to the proper care and humane treatment of animals," she continued. "Land O'Lakes supports efforts to develop national sound animal care guidelines and to urge producers to adopt these guidelines to ensure humane treatment of animals by all segments of the livestock industry. We specifically support the National Dairy Animal Well-Being Initiative."