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article imageProtest against Ohio dairy farm cruelty draws over 150 police

By Stephanie Dearing     May 31, 2010 in Crime
Plain City - Warning: this story is deeply disturbing.
Nearly 200 police showed up to protect a dairy farm after a protest organizer threatened to tear the farm apart, urging people to bring weapons.
After undercover video footage emerged showing violent acts of cruelty against cows and calves at an Ohio dairy farm, outraged animal rights activists urged protesters to tear the farm apart. In anticipation of a large, possibly violent protest, over 150 police officers turned out to protect Conklin Dairy Farms Inc. Only a handful of people showed up to protest, and they were peaceable, reported 10TV.
Warning: video footage at Mercy for Animals starts automatically. The footage is deeply disturbing.
The animal cruelty at Conklin Dairy Farms Inc. was exposed by Mercy for Animals. The graphic footage depicts a man stomping the head of a living calf, a man beating cows with a crowbar, as well as stabbing at other cows with a pitchfork, among other abuses. Mercy for Animals conducted a four week undercover operation in April, netting in the footage and the arrest of Conklin Dairy employee, Billy Joe Gregg on May 26th. Gregg was charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty; and subsequently fired by Conklin Dairy Farms Inc.
Gregg is said to be studying to be a police officer, and his chosen career may now be jeopardized by his alleged behaviour at Conklin Dairy Farms, reported the Columbus Dispatch.
Conklin Dairy Farms Inc. issued a statement saying "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." The statement went on to say that the video failed to capture "the context of how the farm is operated responsibly," said This Week Community Newspapers.
Mercy for Animals, however, maintains the violence was condoned and encouraged by the owner of Conklin, a claim repeated by Change.
Mercy for Animals said violence against farm animals is more widespread than people think. "MFA undercover investigations at dairy farms, pig farms, egg farms, hatcheries and slaughterhouses have revealed that violence and abuse to farmed animals – whether malicious or institutionalized – runs rampant nationwide."
An animal rights activist named Gary Yourofsky is said to have tried to organize the violent protest that the police anticipated Monday. A letter posted to 30 Bananas A Day blog, allegedly from Yourofsky stated "... in honor of every imprisoned cow and calf at Conklin's camp, for each innocent being who was punched and kicked repeatedly, and for every other imprisoned animal on this planet, we need to gather on MEMORIAL DAY, this Monday May 31 at noon, for a massive demonstration at the Conklin Concentration Camp located at 12939 US Hwy. Route 42 North in Plain City, Ohio. AND TOGETHER WE WILL DISASSEMBLE THE FARM PIECE BY PIECE AND SHUT DOWN THIS PLACE OF TORTURE!!!
I am asking everyone who cares about justice and injustice to bring bolt cutters, bats, crowbars, pitchforks, hammers and wrenches to help destroy every piece of equipment the farm has, and tear down the sheds. Even as a pacifist, you CAN do this. Dr. King and Gandhi were RADICAL LAW-BREAKERS who CONSTANTLY BROKE UNJUST LAWS. I am not asking you to harm anyone if it is NOT in you to harm someone ... although those who wish to will have my FULL SUPPORT. If you want to peacefully march with a sign (bring your own) and chant outside the farm, please do so. If you want to take it up a notch, then please do so.
If you've had enough of animal abuse, as I have. If you truly care about animals, and want their suffering to end and be massively exposed across the world, let's fucking do this NOW! Don't be afraid."
However, Care2 received a similar submission, again allegedly from Yourofsky, which was a much longer letter, but did not include the inflammatory bits as noted above.
Mercy for Animals asked people not to attend the protest, saying the action would compromise the legal case against Gregg and jeopardize the investigation, a sentiment also expressed by Union County Police.
Last week, the local Humane Society obtained a search warrant for the farm, but said in a news release "... At that time they found that all living animals at the facility had no visible signs of abuse. Without any visible signs of abuse and with the main perpetrator arrested, the Union County Humane Society lacked the physical evidence to seize the animals on the spot." The Union County Humane Society went on to say that Conklin Dairy Farms sells animals every week, and the agency would continue to look for the animals which were abused. The Ohio Department of Agriculture's Enforcement Division has loaned two state inspectors to the investigation, who fined Conklin Dairy Farms Inc. for improper disposal of dead animals.
If any abused animals are located, they will go to Farm Sanctuary. The Executive Director of the Union County Humane Society, Steffen Baldwin said "Unfortunately, despite the horrific acts of torture documented in the video, and due to Ohio’s anemic animal cruelty laws, we simply do not have enough evidence at this time to meet the public’s overwhelming demand for the animals to be immediately seized and the facility shut down. This is an ongoing investigation and we are doing everything in our power to gather the necessary evidence to bring the victims of this atrocious abuse to refuge, where they can live out the rest of their days free from fear and pain.”
The Union County Human Society also said "... Ohio law does not currently allow felony charges on farm animal abuse. On Thursday, the Ohio House of Representatives voted to approve House Bill 55, which would increase animal cruelty laws from a second degree misdemeanor to a first degree misdemeanor and mandated psychological exam, mental health treatment, and suspension of the ability to care for any animals, as well as more."
The release went on to say that Gregg could face up to 90 days in jail for each cruelty charge, if found guilty. Other arrests might result from the investigation. The public outcry over the documented cruelty is huge and growing bigger by the day. Change's petition campaign has just about reached its target of 20,000 signatures already.
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