Editor's Note: The following statement was released Thursday by the Animal Agriculture Alliance regarding the video of animal abuse on an Ohio dairy farm released this week.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is disturbed by the images of alleged animal cruelty documented in a video released this week by an animal rights activist group. The Alliance has long condemned the abuse and mistreatment of animals raised for food and works to promote animal care guidelines on all farms across the United States.

If an investigation finds the video to be genuine, we believe that the severest penalties allowed by law should be imposed on all parties involved, as well as those who failed to stop and report these actions immediately to the proper authorities.

The gruesome images shown in the video are in no way representative of the majority of America's hardworking farm families. Farmers and ranchers realize that consumers trust in them to provide safe, quality food products- and they take that trust seriously. Management practices are selected with animal well-being, food safety, and product quality in mind.

Most farmers and ranchers follow species-specific animal welfare guidelines to ensure that their animals are comfortable and healthy.

The Alliance has many concerns with the ways that these types of videos are presented to the public. It is often difficult to determine the authenticity of the images shown. Undercover activists seek illicit employment with the goal of securing video- at any means necessary- to portray food producers in disparaging ways. Many times, the videos are held for months until they can be released at a politically-opportune time, thereby allowing any alleged animal suffering to continue. In this case, the activist organization, Mercy for Animals, claims that an undercover activist documented horrendous animal cruelty for more than one month before alerting authorities.

The attention created by such videos represents a major political and fundraising tool for animal rights organizations.

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Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance