Scary Cow Abuse Uncovered on Ohio Dairy FarmPublished June 3, 2010
Dairy Cows: Flickr User Cathy, Sam, Max and Mai
It seems that cruelty to animals has become epidemic in our country. I become overwhelmed and enraged as I read these tragic stories almost every day. But this item about dairy cow abuse was particularly disturbing.
Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States has been touring around Ohio with several livestock farmers who are supporting a ballot measure to ban the horrendous practices going on in industrialized agriculture.
Laws are desperately needed to protect farm animals and Pacelle made this very clear on his blog, where he wrote about the release of a video showing farm employees at Conklin Dairy in Plain City, Ohio physically their abusing dairy cows for no apparent reason.
Conklin Dairy hired an investigator with Mercy for Animals who, during a four-week undercover operation, used a hidden video camera to document suspected abusive practices against the corporation's dairy cows.
The highly disturbing and alarming video clearly and graphically shows the farm owner, Gary Conklin, and several farm employees abusing dairy cows. Conklin, a well-known farmer in the area is seen kicking a downer cow in the face. Additionally, 25 year-old Billy Joe Gregg is shown to body slam and forcefully punch cows and to stab confined animals with pitchforks. Adding to these horrors, Gregg was heard to brag about how much he enjoyed beating the animals.
Gregg was taken into custody last week and arraigned the next day. He is facing 12 counts of cruelty to animals. So far no charges have been made against the farm owner or the farm employees. Pacelle noted that the farm is still operational.
Gary Conklin issued a statement after the video was released. He said, "Our family takes the care of our cows and calves very seriously. The video shows animal care that is clearly inconsistent with the high standards we set for our farm and its workers, and we find the specific mistreatment shown on the video to be reprehensible and unacceptable." Interestingly he made no comment about his participation in the abuse, which is documented in the video.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Ohio Department of Agriculture inspected the farm three times in the past year. No abuse was observed by officials and the farm was granted an approval as "Grade A" which permits milk produced on the farm can be sold commercially.
Rocky Nelson, Union County Sheriff told the Dispatch that the behavior he observed on the video was "vile and disgusting". He said, "If there was a way this could be a felony charge, I would push for that." Pacelle feels that due to the influence of lobbyists on Ohio agribusiness efforts, charges for abuse to farm animals, no matter how heinous, do not extend to felony levels.
The Ohio ballot initiative to end animal cruelty on farms includes abuse to downer cows, animal strangulation and the confinement of veal calves, laying hens and breeding sows in cages hardly larger than their bodies. Still, the ballot is being challenged.
However, according to Pacelle, "Volunteers are circulating the petition and have until June 29 to gather 401,000 signatures of registered voters in Ohio."
Pacelle reported that the farmers who accompanied him on the tour were disgusted about the Conklin Farm abuses and spoke out against other more routine cruelty within agribusinesses, and asked for the support of this reform by Ohio residents.
This is the released video made by mercyforanimals which was uploaded to YouTube. Warning: This video shows graphic abuse to cows and is highly disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
If you're interested in humane treatment for animals, check out our Animal Welfare section.