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Activists out deplorable conditions at cattle breeding station

The activist organisation "Justice for Animals" has released video showing calves apparently living in deplorable conditions at a cattle breeding station in Outokumpu, northern Karelia. The video, which was recorded last month, shows images of calves with breathing difficulties, eye discharges and leg problems.

Oikeutta eläimille -yhdistyksen ottama salakuva vasikkakasvattamosta
Image of calves from the organisation "Justice for Animals". Image: Oikeutta eläimille -yhdistys

The animal rights organisation Oikeutta Eläimille ("Justice for Animals") released video Monday, which it says was recorded in January at a cattle breeding station in Outokumpu, eastern Finland. The video shows calves living in crowded conditions, and apparently suffering from various ailments including breathing difficulties and eye discharges.

District veterinarian Hanna Rintala of the eastern Finland regional administrative authority confirmed that the video was most likely shot in Outokumpu and that northern Karelia’s supervising veterinarian paid an inspection visit to the facility in 2003.

“We have no reason to believe that the video was not shot at the farm in question. We will absolutely pay a control visit to the farm and possibly issue an injunction,” Rintala said.

"Male calves not valuable"

According to the local veterinarian, the video shows that some of the animals require immediate medical care.

“The video shows sick animals, some even with severe respiratory infections. You can see breathing difficulties, eye discharges and one case of diarrhoea. On the basis of the video you can see some animals that should be euthanized,” she added.

Justice for Animals said that the footage highlights the problems of commercial farming. The organisation said that male calves have no real value in milk production systems.

“What’s most tragic is to see how these calves that have lost their mothers are treated as nothing more than surplus,” said spokesperson Krista Muurimaa.

Supervisory shortcomings?

Veterinarian Rintala said though that on the basis of other group photos, the breeding station appeared to be a regular facility.

“It looks like a relatively normal breeding station on the basis of the large group photos, there’s nothing extraordinary about them. On the other hand the video shows that the animals don’t necessarily live in conditions that are clean and dry,” the vet pointed out.

“It’s true that the farm is run-of-the-mill and you can see typical animal care here. So it’s not just about shortcomings regarding oversight. It’s also a question of the fact that the animals are being kept in harsh and deplorable conditions,” Muurimaa noted.

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