PETA: Video shows abuse at Hickory dairy farm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it has a video showing sick, emaciated cows being forced to stand in knee-deep manure for hours, even when the animals are milked and fed at a North Carolina dairy farm.

The organization is asking several state agencies and law enforcement to conduct an emergency inspection of the Osborne farm in western North Carolina. A phone number there had been disconnected.

PETA senior vice president Daphna Nachminovitch said the farm sells milk to Harris Teeter's milk supplier - Piedmont Milk Sales Inc.

The group's investigator Dan Peden said he found a document a few days ago at the Osborne dairy that showed a shipment of milk was headed to Piedmont Milk's bulk tank in Hickory. He said a Piedmont Milk sales rep told them the plant supplies "milk exclusively to Harris Teeter."

But Harris Teeter communications manager Catherine Becker told The Associated Press that the grocery chain's supplier, Piedmont Milk Sales Inc., doesn't receive milk from the dairy farm. She said Piedmont Milk is a raw milk supplier for the grocery chain's dairy.

"Osborne Dairy Farm is a Piedmont producer but, Piedmont has never delivered milk to our dairy from that farm. Again, you will need to speak with Piedmont regarding any questions about that farm," Becker said.

Piedmont Milk didn't immediately respond to questions Tuesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, PETA has shared its findings with several state and county agencies.

Haywood County Animal Services is looking into the allegations, its director Jean Hazzard said Tuesday. She said they have contacted the farm.

"We have to look at all the animals to prove or disprove the allegations," Hazzard said, adding that she didn't know how long the investigation would take.

A company spokesperson released the following statement to NBC Charlotte Tuesday afternoon:

Harris Teeter has verified with its supplier Piedmont Milk Producers that we do not receive milk from Osborne Dairy Farm. We will be asking PETA to issue a retraction immediately.

PETA has the video posted on their website. Click here to view.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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