By the time an Internet video is being reported as “viral,” you know everyone knows.
The web reveals, “Chilling undercover footage recorded during a new Mercy for Animals investigation exposes dairy farm workers sadistically abusing cows and young calves.” http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/05/26/conklin-dairy-farms-animal-abuse-video-goes-viral/
Everyone has seen it. Everyone is sickened. Everyone has responded with disgust. For crying out loud, livestock well-being and animal care has been foremost on the minds of all Ohio livestock producers for the last two years. Hasn’t it? All Ohio producers have to know this kind of secret undercover hit man or hit woman was out there. Any farm that would allow this cruelty to go on knowing what a microscope Ohio is under is sick and in need of psychological and medical attention.
When innocent animals are sadistically beaten on film, it’s a U-Tube hit. It goes viral. And it is a sad day for all livestock producers.
About 11 a.m. Tuesday a video of unbelievable animal cruelty and horror was distributed by Mercy for Animals, a self-declared vegan organization. The black and white footage shows animal abuse of the worst kind. By 6 a.m. Wednesday morning, Conklin Dairy Farms Inc. in Marysville, had called in the Union County sheriff deputies to visibly fire one of its employees, Billy Joe Gregg, 25. Gregg was immediately arrested by the deputies and charged with 12 counts of misdemeanor or animal cruelty.
A report in the Columbus Dispatch claims that Gary Conklin, the owner of Conklin Dairy Sales LLC, is also one of the people photographed in the video. Conklin was not charged and released the following statement, “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," he told the AP. "We will not condone animal abuse on our farm."
Unfortunately, it has been seen on film and unless we are being duped somehow, the manager and owner, Conklin must take responsibility. If charged and convicted his livestock could be forfeited. Gregg faces up to 90 days and $750 for each of the 12 charges.
But those who are really hit are the thousands of Ohio farmers who have been working to make their livestock operations safe and healthy and open to scrutiny. All the neighborly work and statewide promotion is suddenly in jeopardy. The sincere work that has brought quality assurance programs to all of the livestock organizations is brought into question by the stupidity and sick actions of one farm.
Of course the director of investigations for Mercy for Animals, Daniel Hauf, has said this was a randomly-selected farm and says this kind of activity goes on at any number of Ohio farms at all time. He supposedly picked Ohio because of our lax regulation of animal cruelty.
I’ve read the responses from Ohio farm organizations and individual producers. I don’t think anyone will be lax on Conklin Dairy and Billy Joe Gregg. And I don’t think there is any randomness in targeting an Ohio farm for this kind of sting -- not while the Humane Society of the United States is scratching for signatures for its petition to alter the state constitution.
We know it is coming. And sadly we now know there is the potential for unhealthy operations in our state. It’s not easy to find good livestock workers. No one is perfect and personal situations can make caring for livestock a challenge. If you have a neighbor who needs some help -- who has some problems, maybe you better step up and offer – before you see them on the Internet. Otherwise, the vegans would like to reflect their dark shadow on your farm too.