LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Four workers at a dairy farm that was supplying cheese to DiGiorno Pizza, a product of Glendale-based Nestle, are being charged with a total of 11 counts of criminal animal cruelty. The charges stem from shocking animal abuse captured on a hidden-camera video by Mercy For Animals at a Wisconsin dairy farm late last year.
Abelardo Jaimes, Crescencio Pineda, Lucia Martinez, and Misael Monge-Minero were charged with violating the state's animal cruelty statute after they were caught on video viciously kicking, beating, whipping, dragging and stabbing cows at Wiese Brothers Farms in Greenleaf, Wisconsin. At the time of the investigation, the facility was a cheese supplier for DiGiorno Pizza—part of locally based Nestle's Pizza Division and the nation's largest frozen pizza manufacturer.
Following the investigation, Mercy For Animals immediately contacted law enforcement authorities and presented them with a detailed legal complaint and the undercover video footage. MFA praises the Brown County Sheriff's Department and district attorney's office for taking swift and decisive action in pursuing justice for these abused and exploited animals.
World-renowned farmed animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin characterized the actions of the Wiese Brothers Farms employees as "severe animal abuse," stating: "The actions of these people went beyond rough handling and escalated to the level of cruelty. Kicking, beating, and hard whipping of downed cows is abusive."
Mercy For Animals is calling on Nestle to adopt meaningful animal welfare guidelines, including zero tolerance for kicking, punching and shocking cows; requiring suppliers to prohibit painful and unnecessary mutilations of animals; and requiring suppliers to provide a safe, clean and sanitary environment for cattle. Tens of thousands of consumers have signed a petition at SliceOfCruelty.com, urging Nestle to implement such policies, since the investigation's release.
"These criminal charges should be a wake-up call that heartbreaking animal abuse runs rampant at DiGiorno cheese suppliers. Swift action must be taken to end this unspeakable cruelty. Nestle has the power and responsibility to implement meaningful policies to end some of the worst forms of animal abuse in the dairy industry," said MFA's executive director, Nathan Runkle. "No socially responsible corporation should support dairy operations that torture animals."
To view the undercover video, visit www.SliceOfCruelty.com.
SOURCE Mercy For Animals