On Tuesday, the activist group Last Chance for Animals released its undercover video, alleging animal abuse at a Christensen Farms facility in Minnesota. The announcement came three days too late, however - Christensen Farms was the first out of the gate, releasing their own statement on the allegations of improper animal care last Friday.

“At Christensen Farms, we take the health and welfare of our animals very seriously,” Christensen Farms CEO Glenn Stolt said in the company’s initial statement. “It is our responsibility and we owe it to our packer customers and consumers to provide uncompromising care to our animals."

Christensen Farms also suspended seven employees in the wake of the allegations and initiated their own internal investigation. The company has requested the full, unedited video from the activist group.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in an article here, Last Chance for Animals believes it has evidence of 18 incidents of animal cruelty and 17 cases of neglect - all misdemeanors.

At this time, the Rock County, Minn., Sheriff’s Office has not yet commented though Stolt confirmed the company is “working closely with local law enforcement.”

He added in an updated statement responding to the video, “The portions of the video we have seen are both disturbing and will be part of our ongoing internal investigation. The company will not tolerate violations of farm policies and procedures. All employees shown in the video have already been suspended, effective last week, and we will be taking appropriate actions as we conclude our investigation.”

And your consumers, generations removed from the farm, are no doubt watching. Here are just a few comments left on the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s article:

  • “If there is animal neglect it should be brought to the attention of law enforcement within 24hrs of the act NOT 3 months after the abuse started, Last Chance for animals is just as bad as the farm employees.”
  • “No doubt this video footage was heavily edited...just like PP footage.”
  • “If the allegations are accurate, those responsible should be punished. Abusing innocent animals like this is cruel and ethically indefensible.”
  • “When you raise a living thing for the sole purpose of eating it the LEAST you can do is treat it humanely.  This sort of thing and the jokes and callus comments are sad.  Some people have a scary lack of compassion for anything other than their own selves.  Pain is pain and if you can't see that you are a lesser evolved form of the human animal.”

This incident serves as yet another reminder that animal abuse is truly the Achilles heel of the  industry. While farms may operate “zero tolerance” programs, the results still fall far short of zero incidents.

As Drovers CattleNetwork explained in 2012, “We may have made great strides in changing animal care practices, but as long as animal abuse occurs 0.01 percent of the time, the opportunity exists for activists to exploit such actions with video distributed via Facebook and Twitter.”