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Federal judge sides with dairy in human trafficking lawsuit

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by six Mexican veterinarians who say they were recruited to be animal scientists at an Idaho dairy but were instead forced to work as laborers.

U.S. District Judge David Nye said while a Funk Dairy Inc. manager used intimidating language in talking to the workers once they arrived in Idaho, their actions didn’t rise to the level of forcing the veterinarians to work.

In the lawsuit, the veterinarians contended they were illegally forced to work as general laborers despite having professional worker visas, that they were given lower wages than promised, and that they were threatened with deportation.

The attorney for the dairy, owner David Funk and manager Curtis Giles said the workers did veterinary work in addition to other labor, and that they were free to choose whether to continue working at the dairy.

In the ruling made last month, the judge said that because three of the veterinarians quit working at the dairy and three others were fired, there was no evidence that they were forced to do labor there.

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