Idaho dairy workers charged with animal cruelty

Associated Press Modified: October 10, 2012 at 2:46 pm •  Published: October 10, 2012
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Neither Kraft nor Burger King has a direct relationship with Bettencourt Dairies. Kraft works with a cheese processing company in Idaho that uses milk from Bettencourt's facilities, and Burger King officials said the dairy is an indirect supplier of a small percentage of cheese used by the restaurant chain.

"We believe this abuse is ongoing and was allowed to flourish, unchecked, until Mercy for Animal sent a hidden camera in," Runkle said.

The organization wants Kraft and Burger King to require suppliers to adhere to its policies on the care and treatment of cattle.

Angela Wiggins, a spokeswoman for Kraft, said the company works voluntarily with dairy suppliers to make sure they meet or exceed animal care guidelines.

The video was upsetting, and Kraft doesn't condone the abusive behaviors, she said.

Burger King spokesman Bryson W. Thornton said his company doesn't tolerate or condone cruelty to animals and has launched an investigation that will result in "swift action" if there is evidence of systemic violations to Burger King's animal welfare policies.

Loebs, the prosecutor, said Bettencourt Dairies has cooperated fully with law enforcement, and investigators don't believe any of the dairy's upper management knew about the mistreatment.

Pam Juker, spokeswoman for the Idaho Department of Agriculture, said the agency has not received any other animal welfare complaints involving Bettencourt dairies.

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Associated Press reporters Tammy Webber in Chicago and Suzette Laboy in Miami contributed to this report.