A very graphic, disturbing video of
dairy cows and calves being kicked, hit and prodded by pitch forks was released yesterday by an animal rights group, "Mercy for Animals.”The video also contains raw language not suitable for young viewers.
The abuse allegedly occurred on the premises of Conklin Dairy Cattle Sales, LLC, in Plain City, Ohio. The facility is not a traditional dairy operation, but is involved in the buying and selling of cattle.
The owner, Gary Conklin, released a statement last night: "We will not condone animal abuse on our farm. We have launched our own internal investigation into this matter and will be conducting interviews with everyone on our farm who works with our animals. We will immediately terminate any farm worker found to have willfully abused our cows and calves.”
Most of the abuse depicted in the video appears to be from one employee, who is now in custody
in Union County, Ohio
Because the undercover video is so smooth, clear and well lit, there is some suspicion that at least parts of the video were staged. "I don't want to speculate whether the video or parts of the video were staged,” says Mike Bumgarner, VP of the Ohio Farm Bureau Center for Food and Animal Issues.
"As an industry, we have to deal with this as if it were real. Clearly, the industry condemns what is being shown on the video. These actions would fall under Ohio's animal cruelty laws. The authorities are conducting an investigation, and the operation has already fired one individual who is shown in the video.”
The National Milk Producers Federation released this statement regarding the video today:
"The dairy industry takes claims about animal mistreatment very seriously. Any evidence of animal abuse should be taken promptly to the appropriate state and local authorities whose job it is to investigate those claims, which has finally happened today with the situation in Ohio.
The video released on May 26 is deeply disturbing and depicts practices that are absolutely unacceptable. Ohio's dairy farmers, and those across the rest of the country, do not countenance this type of treatment. In fact, Ohio's animal cruelty laws prohibit acts of unnecessarily or cruelly beating domestic or livestock animals, and we support a further investigation into the situation on the farm.
On a national level, many farms are now beginning to adopt the new National Dairy Farm program's care standards. Those standards disavow
maliciousstriking or dragging animals.
Responsible animal stewardship is a good thing for people and cows, and the FARM program, developed by NMPF, is designed to promote the best practices in animal care that consumers have come to expect from the dairy sector.”