Media Statement – For Immediate Release
Martin Farms, a Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative (Maryland & Virginia) member farm in Pennsylvania, recently notified the cooperative of alleged animal mistreatment claims made about the farm by an animal activist group.
Maryland & Virginia takes all claims about animal mistreatment very seriously, and we assert that any evidence of animal abuse should be immediately reported and investigated. Neither Maryland & Virginia, the dairy industry or our individual farmer owners tolerate animal abuse of any kind.
Immediately after being contacted by the member farm, our cooperative initiated a third-party Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) animal care audit to investigate the claim. The third-party FARM audit identified several areas in need of immediate improvement.
The farm has been placed on probation and will be required to meet the requirements outlined in the FARM's Mandatory Corrective Action Plan and Continuous Improvement Plans.
Maryland & Virginia requires its members to follow the requirements of the FARM program. Any member that fails to comply with the FARM animal care standards and probation process will be considered in violation of their cooperative marketing agreement and their membership will be terminated.
Should anyone witness animal abuse, it should be immediately reported. We encourage those who suspect animal abuse to confidentially report it by calling the See it? Stop it! hotline at 816-285-1553 or email those concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is a statement from Martin Farms:
“On March 7, Martin Farms was alerted that an undercover activist had recorded video footage, while she was employed by us, of animal mistreatment on our farm. We are appalled that these incidents took place on our farm. We take full responsibility for the activities on our dairy. We are disappointed that these actions were not immediately brought to our attention.
All employees shown in the video mishandling animals and not following our established Martin Farms animal care protocols have been terminated. We do not tolerate any animal mistreatment on our farm. We take great pride in our family farm and we are shocked that these incidents took place on our farm.
We have taken immediate steps to address management issues, and we are working to address other areas of improvement as outlined in the results of our Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) third-party audit. We believe in continuous improvement, and we are revising our existing monitoring and employee training protocols to determine where changes need to be made to prevent future incidents from occurring.”
Lindsay Reames, 804-370-4324