ABC News is expected to run a piece on "Nightline" in the next week
that we anticipate will be critical of dairy production practices
The in-depth feature by investigative journalist Brian Ross will focus
on "where your milk comes from." It will likely attempt to tie milk
quality and safety (particularly somatic cell counts) to animal
welfare and comfort (dehorning, tail-docking, hygiene). The
allegations stem from the PETA/Land O'Lakes animal mistreatment
undercover video from
September 2009, as well as a yet-to-be released undercover video taken
on a dairy farm by special interest group Mercy for Animals (MFA).
DMI and other members of the dairy industry have served as resources
to ABC News over the last few months in the hopes of encouraging a
more factual report. ABC conducted an interview with Chris Galen of
NMPF and three on-farm interviews, in Pennsylvania and New York. One
was a scheduled on-farm visit and interview with Steve Graybeal and
Graywood Farms in Pennsylvania; the camera crew captured images of
proper animal care and a well-maintained farm. Just this week,
however, ABC News producers arrived unannounced at the Willet Dairy in
New York, and did an on-camera interview with dairy farmer Lyn Odell,
asking for his comment on the MFA video allegedly taken at his farm.
ABC News also arrived unannounced at the Reitz dairy farm in
comment on the PETA video. Separately, ABC planned to film somatic
cell testing in a laboratory and/or conduct its own testing of retail
milk samples for somatic cell counts, but we're unsure if they found a
lab willing to conduct the tests.
To prepare for the ABC News piece and potential questions from
stakeholders and media, the national issues management team is
drafting fact sheets on animal care, tail docking and somatic cells,
as well as an Issue Alert with recommendations for action steps and
messaging. We are also lining up farmer spokespeople and third-party
expert sources on animal care and milk quality to help us address
The segment is currently slated for Jan. 20 but the airdate is subject
to change due to breaking news.
At this time, all communication should be reactive. You are welcome
to share this information with local producers and animal agriculture
contacts, as appropriate. If you are contacted by a reporter ahead of
the segment airing, please alert the national issues management team
the inquiry before making any statements beyond our general messaging
on animal care and milk safety.
Contact David Pelzer (847-627-3233 / firstname.lastname@example.org) or
Stacey Stevens (847-627-3244 / email@example.com ) if you
have any questions.
Kari A. Stanek
Communications & Public Relations Coordinator
E10890 Penny Lane • Baraboo, WI 53913
PH: 800.451.9275 ext. 5422