ARM claims Florida dairy farm owner knew, participated in abuse of cows

Investigators release new video they claim catches Jacob Larson in act

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. – The Animal Recovery Mission claims that the owner of a Florida dairy farm was aware cows were abused on his property and, at times, even participated in it.

ARM investigators released new video Wednesday that they claim catches Larson Dairy Farm owner Jacob Larson in the act.

Investigators allege that Larson witnessed employees using excessive force in the milking parlor where the cows were kept and, in one instance, restrained a cow while an employee kicked the animal in the head.

"The cow is stuck in the stall. They're trying to free it. Larson goes up to get the cow out of the stall door. He actually restricts it, while one of the most violent workers that he has kicks the cow in the head," ARM lead investigator Richard Couto said at a news conference.

The latest allegations follow the November release of undercover surveillance video showing workers kicking and beating cows at the Okeechobee farm. A second video, taken at Burnham Dairy Farm, showed a pile of dead cows and a worker force-feeding seemingly malnourished cows and calves.

If the allegations are true, it would contradict Larson's claim that he was "deeply saddened and appalled by the actions" in the video.

"We have strict protocols involving animal care and clearly the behavior shown in this video goes against everything we stand for and will not be tolerated," Larson went on to say in his statement.

The video led to a criminal investigation, but Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel E. Stephen said the Larson family would not have been involved in the abuse.

Couto said the Sheriff's Office has had the latest video for weeks and has looked the other way. 

"You have the sheriff, who is very close friends with the Larson family. You have county commissioners going public on their Facebook pages and on camera, stating their strong relationship with the Larson family. You have a community there that is wrapped around the Larson family," Couto said.