An animal rights group staged a protest outside Goodale Farms in Aquebogue Saturday afternoon.

The protest, according to organizer Alecia Moore, was intended to educate the public about what the group calls the “humane myth” and the “unnecessary cruelty” of dairy farming.

“At dairy farms, calves are separated from their distraught mothers soon after birth so that the milk meant for them can be collected for humans to drink instead,” said Moore, an expectant mother.

“The prospect of having my baby taken away from me is impossible to even contemplate, but mother cows used by the dairy industry endure this unthinkable trauma over and over again.” says Moore.

A group called The Hamptons Vegan organized the protest, with the assistance of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). About 20 people participated, carrying signs with slogans such as “Not Your Mom, Not Your Milk!” and “Dairy is Cruel: Go Vegan” as they walked back and forth on the sidewalk in front of the Main Road dairy farm.

In a press release, the group said dairy farms repeatedly artificially inseminate cows, take the calves away from their mothers soon after birth and use the mother cows for milking. The repeated pregnancies are necessary to keep the milk flowing, they said.

“Images of free range grazing cows on the farm’s website and social media platforms may seem like the picturesque life for these cows, but those moments are fleeting, for majority of their short lives are mainly used as breeding and milking machines so humans can drink and eat their dairy products,” the group said in the press release.

Newly birthed calves and cows in the Goodale Farms pasture in June 2016.
Photo: Peter Blasl

Farmer Hal Goodale, who established the dairy farm 10 years ago, was upset to to find himself in the crosshairs of PETA protest.

His farm does not engage in the practices denounced by PETA and the protesters, Goodale said.

Female cows are never artificially inseminated on his farm, he said. The cows at Goodale Farms are kept in the pasture, where nature takes its course and calves stay with their mothers. Goodale said he has 40 cows, including the first one he bought when he started the dairy a decade ago.

“Mothers produce between five and six pounds of milk per day and calves can only drink about one pound per day,” Goodale said. “If we don’t milk the mothers they will get sick.” Goodale said he tried to relay this to the protesters outside his farm yesterday.

In anticipation of the protest, which Goodale heard about through social media, he released a statement to the community.

“While we understand the widespread concern about other farms in the news, our family has always prided ourselves on the healthy and caring treatment of all of our animals. We encourage anyone who has been unsettled by this protest or who is worried about our farming practices to stop by the farm and meet our happy cows and see for yourselves how the care of our animals has always been, and will always be our number one priority.”

Goodale Farms posted the statement to its Facebook page, where hundreds of customers and supporters of the dairy weighed in.

“Good to know we still have a working dairy with responsible owners. It is wonderful to have fresh produce, dairy, fish and meat,” Caroline Waloski replied.

“How dare anyone question your integrity,” wrote Tanya Zaleski. “Coming to check is one thing, descending upon your establishment and making false accusations is on another level.”

“The ethical treatment of animals is exactly why I choose to be a part of your CSA program,” said Amity Black. “Sorry that some poorly informed protesters caused such a scene. Thank you for the delicious products you provide.”

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.