November 10, 2017


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Southeast Milk, Inc. Statement Regarding Alleged Animal Abuse at Larson Dairy Farm

Southeast Milk, Inc., a cooperative of family-owned dairies, has been made aware today of allegations of mistreatment of dairy cows at Larson Dairy Farm, which is one of our members. We immediately initiated our own review to assess the validity of the report of abuse.

Our organization has a zero-tolerance policy for animal abuse. Any employee of a farm marketing its milk through SMI who is found to have violated our animal care guidelines, as well as any employee who witnessed abuse and failed to report it, will be terminated.

After assessing the allegations, Larson Dairy Farm, with support from SMI, has taken the following actions:

• Terminating the employee who was videotaped engaging in unacceptable behavior, and suspending additional employees who did not report the abuse;

• Referring these allegations to law enforcement for further review;

• Working with nationally-recognized animal well-being experts to review the circumstances of the incident as well as our cooperative’s animal welfare program.

Animal care and well-being remains central to our operations at SMI and its dairy farmer owners, and to our zero-tolerance animal abuse policy. These actions demonstrate SMI’s ongoing commitment to the proper care and responsible treatment of our animals.

Jim Sleper

Chief Executive Officer