SCHAUMBURG, Ill. /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Upon viewing deeply disturbing new footage showing cows and calves being abused at an Ohio dairy farm, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) today strongly condemned the cruelty and issued a call for stricter adherence to humane animal handling guidelines and standards.

The AVMA labeled the abuse, which includes cows being repeatedly stabbed with pitchforks, beaten with crowbars, and punched and kicked in their heads and udders, as barbaric, inhumane and unacceptable.

"What is depicted in this video is totally inexcusable and way outside of existing standards for the humane care and handling of livestock," said Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. "If this is an accurate portrayal of what took place at the farm, we would encourage regulatory authorities to impose the most severe penalties allowed by law."

The undercover video, taped in April and May 2010 at Conklin Dairy Farms in Plain City, Ohio, was shot by the animal rights group Mercy for Animals.

Dr. Gail Golab, director of the AVMA's Animal Welfare Division, emphasized the association's zero-tolerance approach toward animal cruelty.

"Those handling animals must do so properly," Dr. Golab said. "The AVMA and its members have worked hard to get good animal care practices implemented on the ground and will continue to do so.

"AVMA policy clearly states that anyone who deals with animals has an obligation to stop -- and prevent -- all forms of cruelty toward animals," Dr. Golab added.

The AVMA urges law enforcement authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.

The AVMA has long-standing policies addressing the appropriate care and handling of animals used for agricultural production. They are available for review at

The AVMA and its more than 80,000 member veterinarians are engaged in a wide variety of activities dedicated to advancing the science and art of animal, human and public health. Visit the AVMA Web site at for more information.

Source: American Veterinary Medical Association