We deserve truth in Conklin dairy farm animal cruelty case

At last week’s Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board listening session in Guernsey County, I heard that an animal rights group was planning on releasing an undercover video shot at an Ohio dairy farm (link is NOT to video, but to Farm and Dairy’s first story on the issue). By the time I got home around 11 p.m. Tuesday, the video was already lighting up the Internet.

I watched it, and I hope I do not have to view it again. While the footage has been edited, it does show unacceptable treatment of calves and dairy cows.

By Wednesday, a 25-year-old farm employee, Billy Joe Gregg, had turned himself into police and was charged with 12 counts of cruelty to animals. He remains in custody.

“Animal agriculture is incapable of self-regulation,” condemns Mercy For Animals on its blog. MFA was the group behind the undercover footage and its packaging and release on the Web.

But readers need to be aware of the group’s ulterior motive, and that is promoting a vegan diet (vegans try to eliminate the use of animals for food, clothing or any other purposes). Nothing excuses the actions of the dairy farm employee, but you need to know where this group is coming from.

“Compassionate consumers can end their direct financial support of farmed animal abuse by rejecting dairy, and other animal products, and adopting a vegan diet.”

Personally, I have lots of questions before I feel I can comment legitimately on the issue. Not the issue of animal cruelty or mistreatment of farm animals — that I can easily comment upon because it has no place on any farm, and all farmers must care for their livestock in the most humane way possible. But the issue of how this video came to be produced and released is rather murky.

Who was the undercover “investigator” from Mercy For Animals? When was he hired, if he was posing as an employee? Did he know Gregg before he arrived on the farm? When was Gregg hired? What is the farm’s process for checking references? Who were these guys’ references?

How many employees does the farm have working with the cattle? Who supervises and trains employees? Did other employees know this was going on?

Did the Conklin family know this was going on? When did the Conklins find out about the undercover video, and when did they see it? Where were they when this action was taking place?

Did Gregg know he was being filmed (he clearly speaks to the camera angle in several segments)? Did the individual filming also participate in mistreatment to gain Gregg’s trust? How did MFA target Gregg and/or Conklin Dairy Farm?

Why did it take four weeks for MFA to prepare the video — and let the alleged abuse continue, if they proclaim to care so much for animals? Why not work with law officials or the local human society to create the case?

Did MFA “misuse” the animals itself to promote its vegan agenda? Did the individual filming egg or urge Gregg on, to instigate the abuse?

Have investigators checked computers, e-mails, cell phone records to piece together a timeline, or an understanding of who knew who, and who knew what when?

Was Gregg paid by MFA? Is he a supporter?

Why was the video released at the same time Humane Society of the United States’ CEO Wayne Pacelle was making a visit to Ohio to drum up support for the Ohioans for Humane Farms’ ballot initiative? Was HSUS involved with MFA in the making/releasing of this video?

My questions do not give Gregg a green light to do what he did. We have a rule of law in this country, and he has been charged. It’s time for the police and legal system to work — and get answers and facts.

It’s also time for the rest of agriculture to stop being the silent minority, and to speak out on its own behalf, about how you treat your livestock, which is NOT what is portrayed in the video. There’s no question about that.

* * *

Where is our outrage when abusers target our children?

There is no way to talk about the alleged incidents of animal abuse at the Ohio dairy farm without becoming emotional. When I went home from work last week and shared the emerging story to my husband, however, he found a way to put it in perspective in a new way.

Where are the undercover videos, where are all these well-funded activists, he asked, when it comes to children instead of animals?

In March, a 36-year-old Cleveland man was sentenced to eight years in prison for putting his 7-year-old daughter in a clothes dryer and turning it on.

In April, a mother in Stark County became angry when her 15-month-old toddler wouldn’t get off the steps so she grabbed him and threw him to the ground, breaking his leg.

In 2008, state and local child protective services received 3.3 million reports of children being abused or neglected. Nine percent of U.S. children are victims of physical abuse. Nine percent — that’s nearly 1 of every 10 children!

In Ohio alone, there were more than 86,000 reports of child abuse in 2008.

I thought of these thousands of unseen children in the aftermath of a horrific video allegedly filmed undercover at the Conklin Dairy Farm near Plain City, Ohio. People around the world are clamoring for justice, or for retribution.

I’m not trying to downplay the incident. I watched the video once and I will not watch it again. Wanton animal abuse or neglect is inexcusable.

But I also agree with Keith. There are no multimillion dollar-backed undercover investigators, no news conferences, no outraged blog posts or online comments, no protests around homes, in 99% of the child abuse cases. There are just underpaid, overstressed social workers, and a society that cares too little, too late.

We all have a responsibility to work together to prevent child abuse and neglect. Who will speak up for our future?

About the Author

Farm and Dairy Editor Susan Crowell has been with the paper since 1985, serving as its editor since 1989. Raised on a farm in Holmes County, she is a graduate of Kent State University. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and follow Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy. You can also find her on Google+ and Facebook. More Stories by Susan Crowell

187 Comments

  1. John says:

    This is disgusting. Undercutting the dangerous and debilitating work of an undercover investigator who unveiled illegal activity by saying they should have–what?–gone undercover in someone’s home?

    Your ability to look for a way to condemn MFA for exposing what you yourself condemn is horrendous. The fact that you think these people are in some way responsible for child abuse shows just how desperately and blindly you cling to your profits.

    While you’re at it, why don’t you tell me whether we should take money from womens’ battery shelters and give them to a cause you find more appropriate?

  2. Linda says:

    What a ridiculous article,.

    I am not a vegan of an “animal rights” activist. I’m just a decent human being who condemns ALL cruelty whether it’s directed toward humans or animals. It matters not a whit to me who exposes the abuses at factory farms; somebody’s got to do it. Obviously your industry won’t. And the USDA (hey, they regular pass hideous puppy mills) is worthless. Furthermore, the fact that the sight and sound of old, used up dairy cows in the slaughter pens (and on the dead pile) at Sugar Creek upsets me does NOT mean I’m any less upset by cruelty to children. Anyone who will abuse an animal is highly likely abuse a child or a woman: fact.

    Your logic is bogus and your industry is cruel.

  3. FarmFamily says:

    In response to the previous comment: “Undercutting the dangerous and debilitating work of an undercover investigator … ”
    John, you should be ashamed of yourself, claiming the videographer’s work was dangerous. MAYBE … if he had stepped in to prevent the atrocities as they occurred, I’d agree with you. As it stands, I feel the undercover investigator is as guilty as Billy Joe Gregg for standing by and doing NOTHING to prevent it when he had the chance. Which is, in essence, what this article addresses … apathy. And P.S. John and whoever else agrees with him: the only group “clinging to their profits” is HSUS.
    Have a nice day … the rest of us will be tending our livestock, growing crops and feeding the world while we condemn idiots like Billy Joe, and defend our livelihoods from ridiculous agendas.

  4. David Ruffieux says:

    You wrote….There are no multimillion dollar-backed undercover investigators, no news conferences, no outraged blog posts or online comments, no protests around homes, in 99% of the child abuse cases. There are just underpaid, overstressed social workers, and a society that cares too little, too late…

    I think you are dead wrong in saying that. Open your eyes; there are already so much money, organizations, the UNICEF, political forces to care for children and our fellow human beings. This is not enough to you. Right, this is never enough. Children abusers, when caught, get lots of jail time. Pig abusers, cow abusers, dog abusers get a mere slap on the wrist. I don’t see why we should not care for animals, for we all suffer. If you truly care for animals, please stop whining that we don’t do enough for children. This is annoying to those great people who deal with animal cruelty and this is plainly untrue.

  5. Eric Mills says:

    I wholeheartedly share John’s sentiments. Shame on Ms. Crowell, paid lackey for the industry, for trying to rationalize this horrendous abuse by disingenuously focusing on side issues, and attempting to blame the messenger (Mercy for Animals). She’d better pray that karma ain’t true.

    The Ohio atrocities are not an anomaly. These inexcusable crimes against farm animals are rampant throughout the industry. A pox on all your houses.

    On a brighter note, this should help to pass the much-needed Ohio farm animal initiative.

    Meanwhile, some legislation needs to be introduced to make these crimes a FELONY offense, rather than the absurd misdemeanor charge.

  6. Mary says:

    The “undercover investigator” was an accomplice. There is no reason to think he “needed” to film abuse this heinious for four weeks! Whe he witnessed the first act he had an ethical obligation to those animals to call the authorities to prevent further abuse. Otherwise I have to believe he really has a political motive, NOT the animals interest in mind.
    Susan has condemed the abuse, she is just saying how curious it is that we spend so much attention on the animals and as a society largely ignore the children here and around the world who do not have appropriate care.

  7. Joanna says:

    Well said, Susan. I had similar questions and thoughts. Undercover investigator? Hardly. Accomplice in a heinous act more accurate.

  8. Hailey says:

    I’m sorry… I missed the connection? I thought this story was about outrageous, incomprehensible abuse animal abuse…. animals that have very little legal protection (far less than cats & dogs) from abuse because they are part of our food industry. I deal a lot with companion animal rescue & I still hear people say why don’t you take care of all the issues that people have & then deal with the animals. People are more important than animals. And I say… if you care so much about people then you help them. I have a passion for animals, who cannot help or speak for themselves, if you care so much about helping people or children or whatever.. than get off your duff & put your money & your time where your mouth is and do something about it! Those “well-funded activists” are funded by people like you & me that care about farm animals & those activists are often volunteers that put in time on the weekend or after work or whenever they can. So… if child abuse & child protection is what you are passionate about than help fund those social workers or programs that support your passion. Don’t belittle other people & organizations’ nonprofit work by saying it isn’t as important.

  9. Mike says:

    Why was this article even written? It is an absolute outrage that anyone would even attempt to defend the actions of the farm or to discredit the video. Your eyes and ears are showing you exactly whats going on. Punching, stomping on, kicking, hitting

  10. Jeff says:

    By insinuating that the undercover videographer was some how working in tandem with this pscychopath is preposterous on its face! Without the graphic evidence, they NEVER would have charged this sadist…

    • MARY JO says:

      I did not see this video when it first came out so i am a little late. i agree with Jeff. there was no other way to stop this thug than to let him commit his cowardly savagery against the animals in order to video tape same as evidence. videography is the best evidence. this coward, this bully, should be hog tied, rendered helpless and put in a pen with a nice big bull who is having a bad day.
      he is a big, fat bully. this issue is NOT about vegans! it is about animal abuse and cruelty and farm owner responsibility. where are the cameras in these barns?

  11. Tina says:

    It is amazing how many leaders in the dairy industry give their two second half hearted condemnation of the abuse recorded at Conklin Farms. Dairy leaders across this country go into defensive mode and attack the messenger.

    I am very grateful that there are people out there willing to expose themselves to such depraved behavior to try to get a least an ounce of justice (it will only be an ounce of justice due to slack animal abuse laws)for these animals who do not have a voice.

    By the way Mr. Cocklin the owner himself was in the video particpating in parts of the abuse.

    The people in the live animal agriculture business are so fearful that more people will turn to vegetarianism or veganism. Well, keep up your attitude and you will get your worst nightmare.

    Take a note from Chipolte Mexican Grill…

    http://www.chipotle.com/html/fwi.aspx

    This is the way to keep consumers from turning into vegans and vegeterians.

    Don’t make us so sick that we have nowhere else to turn. You are your own worst enemies and that of the poor creatures under your care.

    This is not only a humane issue, it is a health issue.

    Personally I will be buying my dairy products through Clover Dairy that is Humane Society approved.

    My family owned dairy farms in Wisconsin and I have been appalled at what are considered to be normal dairy practices these days. I can tell you my uncle’s farm was not run that way. My favorite childhood memories are visiting the family farm and being a tiny bean pole of a kid having the ability to shew the cattle to the barn with nothing more than my voice and waving my hands in the air. Imagine that, an inexpierenced little girl can shew cows without cattle prods, this includes the bull.

    When animals are given healthy and humane living conditions they are quite happy to return the favor. As a result the food they provide us is of outstanding quality.

    Healthy, happy and humanely cared for animals are what most customers are looking for.

  12. M. Gwynn says:

    You asked “did the owners know what was happening?”…and you claim to have watched the video? Did you NOT notice that the owner, himself, was shown repeatedly kicking a cow?!!! Shame on you! Often, undercover investigators have to silently witness what is happening in order to gather proof. The FBI, CIA, and police undercover agents have to do the same in order to “build a case” against someone. It’s unfathomable what they have to endure in order to get the necessary evidence, but they do it. What a moronic thing for you to say!

  13. Gwen says:

    Well said, Susan. Way too many unanswered questions. We all need to give the established system a chance to work.

  14. Jan says:

    There are many questions about the honesty of those behind the documentation and these are legitimate questions. Sincerely stopping abuse by justifying the continuation of it is wrong. The amount of threats and broad brushing everyone then denying it’s condemning all in the same comments section happens repeatedly in many areas. Pushing a vegan agenda is not needed to stop abuse. There ARE laws existing that ARE being enforced in the case.

    Were there protests to dismantle the homes of child abusers? Threats of violence that warranted extra law enforcement? Condemning all farmers as the same is where you lose the majority…farmers do NOT support the actions on the video. However, when a reasonable question on timing is asked it has no answer – just condemnation If it turns out that the cameraman participated in the abuse then are those defending him willing to see him prosecuted also? We’ve heard of one arrest – there were two employees pictured – unknown if one was the camera operator or not. That’s 3 of ?5? that knew abuse was happening…and did nothing. Holding onto evidence of a crime (which this is) can be obstruction of justice also.

  15. Martin says:

    Just want to add to the general sentiment. This is a poorl article. Of what relevance to animal abuse is child abuse? Are you aware that the conditions for both are markedly different?

    How can you argue that the unmasking of animal abuse reveals a lack of investigation into child abuse? Do you think there is a sort-of karmic revelation-cycle which functions under the law that investigation volume is fixed, it can not be created or destroyed, only tranferred from one cause to another?

    My guess is that your husband is fairly ignorant and my advice would be to think twice before accepting his sage street-wisdom. How can someone write an article on serious topic and cite ‘what my husband said in the car’ as a reference?

  16. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    I read a few lines of this article and stopped. What kind of ridiculous conspiracy theory is this? The group Mercy for Animals, as well as other animal welfare groups have to let the abuse continue for long enough to get good footage. The more footage they get the easier it is to bring the abusers to justice. Less footage means less action. The law does so little to protect animals as it is. If MFA had reported the abuse right away it would have been chalked up as an isolated incident and there wouldn’t be an investigation right now. They haven’t even arrested the farm owner who was on the video kicking a cow in the face He was also apprised of what BJG was doing. Didn’t you see the part where he said that Conklin had sent a couple of the animals to slaughter because they had been beated so badly? You think BJG works for Mercy for animals? Seriously Woman are you on crack?? You sound like Glenn Beck!!

  17. Elizabeth Johnson says:

    Sorry, typos: “Beaten so badly”., “chalked up to” etc.

  18. Jody says:

    When I first started reading this article I thought I must have been missing something, as it seemed so stupid and ill-thought out. I read on and on, waiting for some ounce of sense, but none came, and when I finished I couldn’t help but wonder: “Who’s more of an idiot, the author or her husband?”

    There are serious doubts that Mrs. Crowell watched the video all the way through, or maybe she was watching this and The Real Housewives of New York at the same time, and missed some of the salient details. (Surely she didn’t go to Kent State for journalism…)

    And her husband’s suggestion that since there are other issues that should be dealt with, maybe we shouldn’t deal with these issues is one for the Idiot Hall of Fame. Doesn’t he realizes he’s married to one of those uncaring morons who fails to use her public voice to speak out against child abuse? (This is a Farm and Dairy blog isn’t it?) I also Googled “Keith Crowell” and didn’t find any on-line articles or blog posts by him exposing abusive parents… Good thing we’re not looking to the Crowell household to, you know, get anything accomplished.

    I hope to there are no children in that house; the world doesn’t need another idiot.

  19. Bailey says:

    What a blind article. Are you putting down defenders of animals so that your profits in making money off of livestock isn’t threatened? Open your eyes woman! If you really watched the video, you would never have written what you did. When I watched the video, I clutched the desk with my hands, stood up and screamed! I have been affected in every way possible. I am not a vegetarian, vegan, or zealot. I am just a human being with emotion that cannot be suppressed when anyone is abused. These animals were not only violently beaten, but they were restrained, held down, necks clamped in holders on each side, metal bars keeping them in place, while a dairy farm employee smashed them with metal pipes, crowbars, pitchforks…and the whole time they could not walk away, run away, defend themselves during the terror. You are in the dairy business. Have you ever volunteered your time to walk through various farms just to see what is going on? No, you would rather make problems for those people who want to pull the curtain open on farm animal abuse. Do you have a conscience? I guess you go to sleep at night without feeling any guilt for such a slanted, spiteful article.

  20. Jill K says:

    What a totally pointless “article”, if it can be classified as that. I’m sure all the answers to your questions will come out in trial. Do you think that “undercover investigators” do not know what they are doing when they are collecting evidence? I’m sure they made sure they had enough evidence to present and convict. Had they run off to an “authority figure” the first time they saw “BJ” hit a calf, do you think he would be in jail right now? Do you think the whole world would know what an animal he is??
    Yes, MFA PROMOTES a vegan lifestyle… they do not force anyone to live that way, hence the word PROMOTE! Just like you PROMOTE BEEF and MILK. It is called personal choice and we all have it.
    Since we are turning this into a child abuse article, when will the abortion issue come into play too?
    Animal welfare people are compassionate, caring individuals who stand up for what they believe in and are far more likely to help a fellow human in need than most. It is a shame many of you will never open your minds enough to find out.

  21. D. says:

    FarmFamily, you said “As it stands, I feel the undercover investigator is as guilty as Billy Joe Gregg for standing by and doing NOTHING to prevent it when he had the chance. Which is, in essence, what this article addresses … apathy.”

    Hate to break it to you but these cruelties run rampant throughout the industry. It would have occurred with or without the presence of the undercover activist; he/she was simply raising awareness to help prevent these cruelties from happening on a larger scale.

  22. Heather says:

    What a ridiculous argument. The fact that the people behind this video are vegan is totally irrelevant to the problem at hand. In fact, this type of footage only helps to create more vegans, because most decent human beings don’t support animal abuse. The cow that supplies my milk deserves a thankful pat on the back, not a hostile kick to the utter, punch to the face, or a pitchfork to the gut. Clearly there are some pretty stupid people in the dairy business.

    As for the undercover video, this group did a great job of exposing the dark side of our food industry. Anybody who infiltrates a corrupt organization has to have the stomach to witness deplorable acts with the greater goal of public awareness and its influence on reform. This farm will be shut down, and any industry organization that tries to defend these losers should go down with it.

  23. Cymry Jones says:

    Mercy for Animals are vegans – so what? They have an agenda, so what? Don’t try to find blame with MFA, focus on the perpetrators in the video.

    I say, congratulations to MFA for going undercover to reveal the terrorizing nightmare on the Conklin Dairy Farm.

    I live in Minerva, OH where our local cheese factory bought 100% of Conklin Farm’s milk. The Minerva Cheese Factory has stopped doing business with Conklin because of the horrifying practices at his dairy.

    Susan, the vegan group has an agenda, but there is room in society for them and their practices. However, Americans should not make room in society for psychos who terrorize and beat defenseless animals.

  24. Sue says:

    Your whitewashing of this treatment is deplorable! I was raised on a dairy farm and am certainly NOT vegan nor will I ever be. But I do have sense enough to know that I must treat kindly the source of my sustenance if I am to consider myself a civilized human. Bringing up the issue of child abuse is a cheap shot as well. I didn’t know that this was an “either- or” situation! My next question for you is…did you even watch the video? The owner were involved in the mistreatment as well. I’d like to trust our judicial system to bring the perpetrators to justice, but I’m afraid I have little faith in their protection of animals. We have a long way to go as a society before we become good stewards of our resources.

  25. Tracy Tiefenbach says:

    You have got to be kidding right? You think that Mercy for Animals is responsible for the abuse !!! The reason that Mercy for animals promotes a Vegan diet is because of the abuse that goes on in Dairy farms, eggs farms, etc. Footage from all sorts of farms have been exposed by undercover workers. It has to be done to get the information out. It is sick that you would even think to defend these brutal monsters.

  26. K b says:

    Child abuse is far worse..but the perps have more rights to protect them from an angry mob.

  27. Bonnie says:

    I watched the video for about 2 seonds; I screamed stop it & burst into tears. Cows are so passive & wouldn’t hurt anyone. I have been following this story constantly hoping I would hear that the cows have been removed & are now safe.

    I simply don’t understand how people can be such abusers without conscience. If I hurt a cow as in the video, I probably would take my life as I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. Hoping the laws will change soon & that the Dairy will be shut down….

  28. Tracy Tiefenbach says:

    Also child abusers get more punishment then animal abusers and we do petition and protest child abuse. All over the world not just here. And one thing that we do not do is down play the severity of child abuse. But just remember, anyone who is capable of abusing an animal is just as capable of abusing a person. Maybe do some proper research before you embarass yourselve for writting something.

  29. Bob Jones says:

    Was Gregg paid by MFA?? Are you flippin’ kidding me?! What kind of “journalism” is this, and I use that term very lightly. Once you people in Ag acknowledge there’s a problem and try to fix it, people are continually be exposed to these videos and these lie ridden articles, and like me, go Vegan and donate money to groups who promote a Vegan lifestyle.

  30. Pattie says:

    I would be embarrassed to have written this article. What do abused children have to do with this? Since Mercy for Animals is about protecting ANIMALS, why don’t YOU go investigate child abuse? Who are you to judge which causes people are interested in? What does that have to do with torturing animals? Did you watch that video?

  31. Scott says:

    Are you implying that groups who want to expose and prevent animal abuse care too little about child abuse because they are using their resources to help abused animals instead?
    Susan, I would like to ask you a few questions in all seriousness:
    1. Are activists who raise awareness about drunk driving to be condemned because they are not raising awareness about child abuse instead?
    2. Is there something wrong with disaster relief volunteers because they are not putting their time and resources toward helping abused children?
    3. What other activists, non-profits, and volunteers are blameworthy because they are trying to help the world in a way other than the specific cause that you and your husband haved deemed the most worthy? Would you say that they all care too little about child abuse?

  32. wendie says:

    what a ridiculous article is right… your list of possibilities that need to be investigated is absolutely absurd. do you think someone also paid gregg to show off the dead deer he ran over? if he was a paid accomplice would he be sitting in jail today or bailed out by his ” team”. absolute nonsense…

    it is extremely difficult to get animal abuse, or child abuse for that matter, allegations to stick. this brave person RISKED HIS LIFE by going undercover at this farm to document enough abuse to show it wasnt an isolated incident, and to get the world’s attention, and you call him an accomplice. SHAME on you. who’s paying you?let me guess…..

  33. Bob says:

    Susan

    I think your article has very legitimate questions that should be answered. It is very obvious that Susan has condemned the acts on the video as any respectable person in agriculture would do. I can also say that 95% of people in agriculture would have stepped in and put an end to the abuse if they would have seen it first person or if the person who shot the video would have show it to them. Unfortunately in the world community there are always those 5% who stand by and do nothing to further justice so don’t limit your ridicule or finger pointing to the agricultural community. If indeed it took 4 weeks for this footage to be made public you could say that the person or persons responsible for holding the footage could be classified as part of the 5%, if this was ongoing abuse to let it go on for another 4 weeks is completely irresponsible.

    For those of you who have have accused Susan of being a industry lackey and being one sided in thought, she asks questions about hiring practices, who is training the employees and did other employees know about these acts of abuse. It amazes me how someone can read an article like this and only read what they want to read.

    Unfortunately the issue of abuse whether it is perpetrated against an animal, child, unborn child, woman or man it will always be an issue. Yes any abuse issue should be brought to someone in authorities attention and then followed to make sure justice is served. In this case the issue should have been brought to the attention of the farm owners then if nothing was done to provide justice the matter should have been taken to the local authorities.

  34. Vivian says:

    This article is an insight into how these people think. I am glad it is clear that they are farm and dairy people, and not ranchers. Growing up in AG country there was a clear divide between farmers and ranchers. I can imagine what some of the old time ranchers would have done to these guys. Those of us who grew up with cattle and love them are the first to condemn this. USDA is no longer needed in this country and should be dismantled. It would save the taxpayers billions!

  35. Charlie Talbert says:

    Like your husband, I wish there was more undercover footage of child abuse. Public outrage at the abuse of innocents can be a powerful catalyst for compassion and justice.

    But compassion and justice are not finite, and so applying these fundamental human values to some victims does not limit our ability to apply them to others.

    In the context of this Conklin Dairy tragedy, Peter Singer’s words seem especially pertinent: “”When non-vegetarians say that ‘human problems come first,’ I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to continue to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals.”

    In other words, abstaining from dairy products does not in any way prevent me from caring for children.

  36. Laura says:

    How sad. And so begins the vigorous efforts to defame anyone courageous enough to engage in undercover activities. This is not an isolated circumstance. Remember Bushway Packing in Vermont not so long ago filmed undercover torturing bob veal calves. And the owner of that firm was caught on video “helping” also. The Dept of Agriculture shut the Plant down immediately.
    Guess what? Many of us involved in animal rescue work with children too. Cruelty is cruelty. I shudder that we as a country appropriately condemn China for their horrendous treatment of animals. We do it too. Just different animals. It is obscene and immoral.
    And to top it off, she can’t write.

  37. As I said in my column, yes, I watched the video and found it horrendous.

  38. Susan says:

    I eat a lot of dairy. I have actually upped my intake after the dr. said I have osteoporosis. When I went grocery shopping this weekend I could not buy any of it though. I just thought of this video and said, “How can I possibly buy this? I. can. not. buy. this.
    I got the soy milk and soy yogurt, put the cottage cheese back on the shelf and did not buy any cheese for sandwiches. How can they expect us to consume this after this video? A commenter here said that cows deserve a pat on the back for giving us milk, not a kick in the face. So well said, so simple. Defenseless animals. This is so sick, so evil.

    • Theresa says:

      Actually, consuming dairy adds to calcium deficiency, as your body uses it’s phosphorus and it’s own bone calcium to break it down. That being said, its hard not to have real milk with oreos, BUT this and many more images of the same kinds of abuse won’t get pushed under the rug. I just wish we were more humane to our livestock and quit factory farming practices altogether… Then I could have my damn cookies and milk again. Note to the dairy farmers….. we’re watching you now! Got milk? Know where it came from!

  39. Ana Morris says:

    we see tons of undercover filming, like Ringling Bros Circus, labs in england etc. Point is it happened and I say CLOSE CRONKLIN DOWN, HARD TIME FOR ALL OF EM.

  40. Wylie J says:

    My understanding this is not a dairy farm but a buyer and seller of cattle, and as a farmer the abuser of these animals AND destruction of property should have been reported to the owner and to the police not even a day later by anyone who saw it. The film is a way to draw attention to the animal rights vegan social movement and to elicit pity, sympathy and outrage to elicit social change to a no animal use society.
    Then we have the “leader” of Negoation is Over a convicted felon and x PETA worker coming in to this Conklin facility to protest. News at 7! I am just thinking that the Animal Terriorism Act needs another look-see, as I think it needs rewording to include people who are terriorized and property destroyed by the animal rights groups. Nothing gives them the power to be vigilanties They just need to let the legal system work. What I am waiting for is to see who paid the filmer of this abuse and did he have an obligation to report it himself? This facility was sought out in order to help animal rights activist push their agenda to interfere with Issue 2 proceeding. When you think of how much land contains multiple animals, all the film probably makes up less than 1/2 of one percent. Not a rampant problem but non the less needs to be dealt with. I think AR are down to their last straw in Ohio and the gloves are off!

  41. Tina says:

    This is how the leaders of the dairy industry respond

    http://www.cattlenetwork.com/Western-United-Dairymen-Condemns-Ohio-Dairy-Cow-Abuse-Video/2010-05-28/Article.aspx?oid=1092986&fid=

    http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7018833559

    There is alot more where that came from. Temple Grandin seems to be the only one to realize that condemnation of the abuse is the only necessary response.

    Instead of being defensive be proactive. Dairy farmers that routinely treat their cows humanely should lead by example. And as consumers we would like to be able to identify the farmers that we could in good conscience buy our food from.

  42. Chris says:

    WHAT DID THIS STORY HAVE TO DO WITH CHILD ABUSE? Monsters come in all shapes and sizes REGARDLESS of who they are terrorizing! Animals and children are both defenseless against an adult. You asked if the owner was aware of what was going on? HELLO did you actually “watch” the video? The owner partakes in the abuse, of course he knows “what’s going on”. It’s people like this that give the meat industry a bad name. As humans we have a moral responsibility to treat all living things with dignity and respect. Aren’t we supposed to be the smarter of all the species? I can’t recall the last time I saw any animal “abusing” a human being! It shouldn’t matter who uncovered this abuse what should matter is that it even happened. My brother has a small scale free range cattle ranch he was absolutely appalled by this dairy farm’s treatment of what is supposed to be their lively hood. I personally don’t eat meat that is my right and guess what my brother respects that right. Most of my family does eat meat and I respect their choice as well. We all do have the choice to decide if we are going to continue to support a place like Conklin Dairy or if we will opt out of the kinds of places that mistreat their livestock and instead purchase meat from reputable farmers and ranchers. The choice to eat meat or not is a personal one, the choice to beat, abuse any animal is about control and hatred! I have to question a person’s character that would “defend’ this kind of cruelty.

  43. Amber says:

    Thank you so much for finally writing this! I am a dairy farmer about 50 miles from the Conklins and I know the Conklins. They are good people and would NEVER do anything or condone anything like this. The entire thing was a setup by the Humane Society and MFA, and Gregg was paid to do this, which makes him even more disturbed.

  44. Tina says:

    Mr. Conklin himself is seen participating in the abuse on the video.

  45. Jeremy says:

    Let me start by saying that no one that I have talked to thinks that the abuse is OK, especially farmers. Susan Crowell is doing what good every journalist is supposed to do, ask questions. Her questions are valid and should be answered.

    Personally I think that the abuser should go to jail, but also be mandated to seek psychological help. He obviously has issues and they need to be addressed.

  46. Deb Spilko says:

    I started my blog Blue Sky Lives to educate about alternatives to Factory-Farmed Animal products.

    There is no vegan agenda in that blog, but I do wish to expose and educate regardng the nightmarish, seriously cruel practices surrounding animal products that come from “factory farms”.
    Serious and sickened by those who think the status quo is worthy of humans, especially those charged with the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto other “Beings” as you would have them do unto you.’ No cow, pig, or chicken would ever treat me in the sick manner that humans have treated them to harvest them or their “fruits”.

  47. Natalie says:

    This is the worst article I have ever read in my entire 40 years of literacy.

    Seriously? MFA paid Gregg to abuse cows at Conklin Dairy farms? Wow!-how clever. And what about turning him into authorities? If they paid him to abuse cows why couldn’t he afford an attorney?

    No offense, but I hardly think this woman is qualified to write any more articles-even for “Farm and Dairy”

  48. BuckeyeBuggyBabies says:

    Well. I’m happy that Crowell is just the editor, and not a reporter.

  49. Mike says:

    US meat and dairy consumers: OMG! I can’t believe what I just saw on that video!! The meat I eat and the milk I drink might come from bad people on horrible farms who brutalize animals for sadistic fun!! This is just plain wrong!!!

    Dairy Spokeman #1: Yeah yeah that VIDEO was awful, but you know who is REALLY bad?? That son of a bitch who undercover filmed it, that’s who! THAT PERSON should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!! If only they had blown the whistle after the FIRST incident documented, we could simply issue the standard “this is a horrible reprehensible act committed by one terrible individual, but the dairy industry condemns this single isolated and positively unique event and the hideous violent criminal in question has been FIRED. Case closed.

    Dairy Spokesman #2: Sure torturing baby calves is bad, but you know what’s REALLY bad?? Killing CHILDREN, that’s what!! Instead of focusing on the brutal torture of farm animals, look over HERE! There are people who STAB kids’ eyes out with knitting needles while laughing the whole time!! THAT is what we should be paying attention to!!!!

    US Meat and Dairy Consumers: Oh, I love cheeseburgers and milkshakes but I guess I’m going to have to get used to tofu and soy milk since these people in the meat and dairy industry refuse to deal with the REAL problem plaguing consumers.

    p.s. I think the author of this silly article is yet another MFA mole who infiltrated the establishment solely to turn meat and dairy consumers vegan. I know that’s the effect her deranged logic had on this meat and dairy eater….

  50. Gary W. says:

    I very much appreciated the editorial in that many questions were asked to which I would also like to know the answer. I believe the questions are fair and reasonable. I believe if Mercy for Animals, Conklin Dairy or anyone is acting with integrity than they should welcome investigation. On the other hand if they are so blinded by agenda as to become hypocritical and implicated in that which they claim is wrong then I would say the end does not justify the means and it will not serve the ideal of their mission. It is hard for me to understand how someone could video the abuse and I would like to know more. Personally, I could not make such an undercover video, I could not tolerate witnessing the abuse, and I would have to stop it. I hope the background picture will become clearer.

    I suspect that Gregg is not the average dairy worker. While all but the most cruelly sadistic will agree that the abuse of the cows in the video is sick and wrong, still when it comes to more typical treatment of modern dairy cows there is disagreement.

    As far as dairy, I consume very little the past couple years though I used to consume a lot more. I like cows and I like dairy and I experience milk and milk products as a gift of Life, good for me physically and spiritually but only as long as it comes from cows that are respected, cared for and hopefully loved. However my enthusiasm for dairy disappears when the cow is simply treated as a production unit or when the calf is completely separated from the mother or when they are uncaringly injured, frightened and killed for money. I believe there is a problem with society in general that people are separated from the source of their food and our eating becomes unwholesome. I have met people that truly care for their cows and will not slaughter them anymore than they would the family dog. They give more milk for longer and they are allowed to live out their natural life. I have no problem with this, but it is rare. Seems to me the human population is out of balance and often unconscious and the immediate direction indicates the majority remain addicted to destructive habits. I would no more kill an older mother cow that once gave me her (surplus) milk to drink than I would kill my mother who also gave her milk. Therefore while I am not a vegan, I am sympathetic to their movement’s efforts stop the horrific exploitation of animals.

    I think part of why such an extreme video is produced is because people avoid caring about the treatment of farm animals. That is reflected in our laws. Livestock and poultry have little legal protection and further receive little action when the law is broken. Their suffering is not considered important compared to that of a human child.

    Abuse is abuse whether it is against an animal or child. I am strongly against both. Compassion is compassion whether it is for a child or an animal. I am strongly for both. Child abuse and animal abuse are often linked, so why pit them against each other? We all have a responsibility to work together to prevent all abuse. The subject here however is abuse of dairy cows and I somewhat agree with the first commentator that you are undercutting the issue of this abuse and therefore all abuse. Are you really going to do anything for anyone being abused or is it just talk to take away from the video?

    As much as I appreciated the questions you asked regarding the Conklin Dairy video, it concerns me that you would downplay it by trying to change the subject. If a video of Gregg surfaced and he was instead treating human mothers and children the way he treated those cows and calves the story would be much, much bigger, it’d be everywhere, all over the mainstream media day after day. There is no investigation, news, outrage, or protests in 99.999999999999% of animal abuse cases. There is no comparison of how much more resources, cases investigated, action and public reaction there is for child abuse to that of animals, however as you say the problem of child abuse still continues. What do you expect when we nonchalantly carry in our belly the remains of innocent creatures that were treated and killed violently rather than teach our children that life is sacred and to be caring and compassionate to all earths creatures. Therefore I also question not only MFA but also the accuracy and motivations of dairy industry advertising portraying that it’s all just happy cows enjoying life on the farm. What’s really going on?

  51. Chris Kick says:

    BuckeyeBuggy,

    I am a reporter, and I can tell you these questions are being asked by other media, as well. Some of them also are part of the investigation being conducted by the prosecutor handling the case, as indicated to me by himself.

    Most of the answers are still undetermined, or have not yet been released to the press.

  52. Sherry says:

    Susan – It appears you have a few screws loose, why don’t you see if you can locate a screwdriver and have your husband tighten them. When he is finished you can get started on making a difference with the issues that actually matter to YOU.

  53. Cindy Harriss says:

    Vegen or not, The abuse still occured and Greg is still an adult and is old enough to make right or wrong decisions and he had to know without a doubt that the abuse he inflicted on these animals was wrong on so many levels!! There is no way that the owner didn’t know this was going on or the other employees as well!! This video has to be the most emotional and heart breaking video of animal abuse I have ever seen and never want to see it again and hope I never do. I think stricter laws should be in force to protect the animals on these dairy farms especially since it’s the animals keeping these companies in business! You would think they would treat these animals in the best way possible!! If I were the one making the decision on the people that inflicted this abuse the dairy farm would be closed down until the case was completed and everyone employed by this dairy farm would be held accountable for the abuse until proven otherwise. There would be interviews, fines, jail time, resitution and would be mandatory screening of the dairy farm until it finally either goes out of business or closes on it’s own! Random check ups with no warning!
    It’s not just ONE man responsible for all of this abuse that we seen on the video, but again ~ These are adults and SHOULD be held accountable for their actions no matter what!

  54. Natalie says:

    Wow, a city prosecutor discussing an ongoing investigation with Chris Kick-Obviously this prosecutor has the same amount of professionalism as Susan Crowell.

    I can hardly believe anyone could seriously launch an investigation into the people who exposed this horrible abuse instead of the perpetrators of the crime. What are they? Scientologists.

    Its clear MFA recorded many instances of abuse in order to make a true difference. If they went to the authorities the moment one abuse ocurred nothing would have changed at that farm. Who knows, maybe the local would have launched an investigation into MFA instead of the people who were apparently running Abu Ghraib for cows.Wait a minute…

  55. Hailey Rogers says:

    Gosh, I started reading the article, you had me, then you lost me. Not for profit organizations have too much to lose to carry out elaborate schemes to frame people. Not only would their organization’s credibility suffer, but it would push whatever their cause is back 20 years, so the whole “conspiracy theory” just falls flat for me, as well as the circle I travel in. I eat meat and drink milk, and I am thankful for these investigations, because it has made me start asking for change from my lawmakers and from the agencies that are supposed to be monitoring the conditions and treatment of these animals who spend their lives serving humanity. At the very least, they must be treated humanely. Did the author ever see the HBO movie – Dealing Dogs? The undercover investigator talks about how difficult it was not to just call the police right away – but he knew he had to gather enough evidence to have a chance at a conviction in court. Despite all of the horrors he had to witness and record, his evidence shut down a class B dog dealer that basically ran his business like a concentration camp for dogs. If our government agencies and laws worked the right way, there would be no need for not for profit animal welfare groups to do any investigative work. These animal organizations receive tips from a lot of ex-workers that leads them to investigate a farm. Are you against the ASPCA as well? Because they also do investigations for humane animal treatment. Many dogfighting investigations are done undercover as well. I’m sorry, but this article diminishes the true issue – cruelty at its worst, and the need for reform. Is it out of fear because you think someday the MHA will take over and rule the United States government and outlaw meat or milk? Ridiculous, and how fearful on the part of those who think this, are you really so weak to think that they could ever have this power? Many groups involved with animal care that do not advertise a vegan life style have condoned this horror, including veterinary groups.
    As a consumer of milk products and meat, I don’t want the animal who produced milk or meat for me to be beaten in the face or stabbed with a pitchfork. We need reform. The cat got out of the bag, you cant stuff him back in because you dont agree with how he got out. I for one will not ignore what is most important – ending brutality for those animals who spend their lives in service to humans.

  56. Mira says:

    Yes, I believe this film was staged – at the expense of the animals. It is not every ‘undercover’ video that comes equipped with the perpetrator looking directly at the camera and providing a running commentary detailing what he is doing and why.
    I am very impressed by the clear closeups and angle shots that provide a good view of what is taking place. Not even police conducted ‘undercover’ footage is this clear. In my opinion, the videographer is just as guilty as the perpetrator; s/he was clearly working with the perpetrator’s knowledge/consent, otherwise, s/he would never have been able to consistently get such clear shots and closeups, and never would s/he have been able to receive the narrative provided by the perpetrator.
    In my opinion, both should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the Law.

  57. Vivian says:

    Amber – I am not surprised by your response in support of the Conklins. It is your industry’s total lack of humane treatment of farm animals that is the problem. From your posting it is evident you are more concerned with supporting the Conklins and minimizing this horror. There are a few farms that strive to treat their animals well but they are few and far between. People are now beginning to realize the suffering and pain that goes into their neatly wrapped meat and dairy products.

  58. serena says:

    How much were you paid to publish this junk? There are many many videos depicting the violence of animal agriculture, this is just the latest. If there weren’t heros like this undercover worker people wouldn’t see the unjust cruelty that is obviously common enough to get on tape as much as it is. This is why you are so defensive. You are just angry that people are getting to look in the face of the cruelty and of the animals that end up on their plates. Animal Ag will have it’s tobacco momment soon enough.

  59. Jason Smith says:

    I hope you all will read this with an open mind.

    Please do the research and learn that osteoperosis is actually caused by drinking and eating dairy and meat products! When you eat or drink protein the acids released by the body as it digests protein are absorbed with the help of calcium. The calcium is being leeched from your body by too much protein. The amount of calcium in milk doesn’t match the amount of calcium being taken out by the overage of protein going into the system, and it’s not even the best kind of calcium to put in your body. In the end it’s a net loss of calcium! The dairy and meat people don’t want you to know this! They tell us one side of the story. They lie to us even worse than the tobacco people did/do! Look around the world. Who suffers from osteoperosis? MILK DRINKING COUNTRIES!!!

    Here’s the other thing they don’t want you to think about. Humans are the only animal that drinks from another animal. Humans are the only animal that drink milk past childhood. We should take note from the rest of God’s perfect creatures and stop drinking milk. It is not food designed for us. It is designed for baby cows. Who wants to grow up to be a cow?! Americans are raising generations of cows. We are taking the milk from momma cows, killing the baby cows, and drinking the baby cows milk. That’s the truth.

    The rest of God’s perfect creatures that eat other animals don’t cook and fry the animals they eat. They rip them to shreds and eat them raw.

    Yes, humans have at one time or another in history have needed the milk or the meat of the cow in order to survive. This time in the beautiful world we live in is NOT one of those times! Meat in the world we live in should be treated as a luxury, not a staple. It should be eaten sparingly if at all, with reverence, not at a drive-thru.

    Please consider these heart-felt comments when you choose your next meal.

  60. Cathy says:

    One of the workers for Mercy for Animals was in Ohio to help out with the impending legislation. The worker chose this location randomly and did not expect anything since it was a small farm independently owned. They were shocked that this was going on. They have guidelines for their workers when they work in these facilities and film undercover. They are not to express any encouragement or condone any behavior they witness. ALL raw unedited footage gathered is given to the authorities. The person filming is accountable for their actions while filming. Edited footage is released to the press (of course- it’s hours of footage they gather) Ohio has some of the weakest animal protection laws in the country enough evidence has to be gathered to build a case or nothing happens. It’s brave of someone to put themselves in this position to help with the greater good while witnessing such things (this person is vegan too!!). they risk personal harm by such brutes to expose these monsters.
    Am I clear that the author of this article thinks people should ignore the animal abuse stuff and become undercover nanny’s???? Mrs. child advocate you can tell your husband that with any luck no-one will want to breed to Gregg in the future thanks to this footage so maybe MFA has kept a child from harm after all-see everyone makes out in the end. Thank you MFA

  61. Cranston says:

    This is just about the most ill-informed thing I have ever read. Dear Susan, tell your grade 7 language arts teacher (for I am assuming you are but a child) to explain how to form an argument in a essay. Your comparisons between animals and other animals (humans are animals)is just silly and uninformed. Most psychologists agree that we can’t have a peaceful and wonderful world for our children while allowing the heinous and cruel abuse of animals. So, we must be outraged at ALL abuse for the sake of all creatures living on the earth.

    To quote John Stuart Mill: “The reasons for legal intervention in favor of children apply not less strongly to the case of those unfortunate slaves–the animals.”

    Now go back a rewrite your article and present an argument that suggests we must be caring of all creatures, even the ones we eat–for aren’t they making the ultimate sacrifice for us?

  62. Tiffany says:

    How do you sleep at night, knowing your a corporate shill who spews out misinformation that helps to somehow justify ANIMAL CRUELTY? Seriously… how do you close your eyes and sleep? Are you a sociopath? I’m so confused by the ridiculous, infuriating circular “logic” in this sad excuse for an article. What a joke. Do you understand the MFA’s “ulterior motive” comes DIRECTLY from the dairy industry’s inability to stop cruelty? It’s not ulterior… it’s a direct correlation to the inhumane torture and abuse that goes on REGULARLY in dairies EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    Conklin isn’t an anomaly. It’s the status quo for the secretive, profit-grubbing industry that treats animals like a commodity.

    And about those CHILDREN? How many children suffered needlessly while you wrote this ridiculous piece of $#!% propaganda? You should be ashamed of yourself.

  63. Nelson says:

    I found the video to be very disturbing. And I think the videographer should be considered an accessory (if he weren’t an ‘undercover investigator’)
    I also think the other worker at the end in the milking parlor who is standing by while Billy Joe Gregg, Jr. boasts about his actions should be fired and charged as an accessory after the fact.

  64. Matt Marin says:

    These dairy people just keep stepping in it…no, make that wallowing in it. They are finally having to face the horror they bring to innocent animals. Stealing new born babies from mothers (does anyone approve of that?), and then stealing their milk–that’s what we do every time we buy a dairy product. Mercy for Animals got it right: Ditch Dairy.

  65. Phil says:

    How Crass is shoot the messenger Susan?

  66. Andrea says:

    It is appalling journalism that just aims to put endless questions in the mind of readers rather than actually answers any of the questions posed – this only happens because the author does not have the answers and is aiming for a piece of propaganda rather than a journalistic article.

    Clearly you are more concerned about the damage this case will do to your industry, rather than the abuse of the animals. You obviously feel little compassion for the dairy cows and calves, as your cold statement “it does show unacceptable treatment of calves and dairy cows” illustrates. I would say the treatment is a somewhat more than unacceptable.

    It is very poor as well to imply that Mercy for Animals are only aiming to ‘promote a vegan diet’ through exposing Conklin. I find it hard to believe that an organisation and the person who had to endure witnessing this terrible cruelty would do that for the sole purpose of switching the world to eating beans – their desire was for the animals to be freed from this sickening suffering that they are enduring day in, day out.

    But it is true that the only real way consumers can illicit change in dairy farming is to boycott dairy. Or choose only ethical sources to buy from.

    And to even think that Gregg was paid by MFA to inflict this extreme cruelty on the animals to further their cause – to pose this question, and ultimately offer support to Conklin Farms in this way, doesn’t make you far different from the perpetrators.

    You would rather cover this up, than risk people turning from milk and dairy – which makes you a very sad, and very greedy, self-interested, individual.

  67. BuckeyeBuggyBabies says:

    F & D: I just went back and watched all the available footage, IN its entirety. Gregg wasn’t speaking to the camera. He was wearing several different shirts over several different days. I don’t suppose he beat each and every cow and calf every day,or the videographer wasn’t with him every moment at work. Took a number of days to show that yes, this particular man had a pattern of abuse. It’s obvious Gregg had no impulse control and spontaneously attacked one of the calves. Sometimes showing off, sometimes I don’t think he knew or cared someone else was there as he methodically picked a torture and applied it.

    I think you all act as if you don’t get out much. I can’t believe you’re acting like you’re taken by surprise here!

    Undercover, covert operator, SPY! And this is the only way we out here in the rest of the world would have any idea what was going on.

    Thanks, Hailey for the reference to the HBO movie “Dealing Dogs”. I couldn’t remember the name of it.

    Also, check out Food Inc, the HSUS Petland expose on Animal Planet, and the extensive, VERY extensive work done by PETA operatives (undercover) on the behalf of animals from hedge hogs to elephants. And crucify this camera operator? Nah…we want a conviction, and we want enough for the prosecutor to GET one.

    You nearly sound like Harold Neuhart. One woman bought three dogs at auction a couple months whose bones were so fragile that one had a healing injury and two others broke their legs after the auction PROBABLY because she sat them down to run, and they did, and their little legs gave way. Neuhart, in front of a couple hundred people accused her of intentionally breaking their legs. Absolutely outrageous.

    Now…was I shocked to find out that some radical Animal Rights people intended to storm the Conklin farm and liberate the rest of the animals? Oh,yes… Would I condone it? Oh, no! I’m glad that law enforcement found out, by golly, and were there at the farm.

    But are the majority of us normal and very concerned folks? Yes. Maybe because we pay attention and aren’t all that surprised, even if we aren’t radical vegans!

  68. Jill K says:

    “Conklins are good people” …..yeah, unless you are a COW!

  69. FarmFamily says:

    Hey “D.” … no need to say, “Hate to break it to you, but this behavior runs rampant in the industry.” Thanks for you insight, but I know all about the industry. And individual cases of animal cruelty do not give YOU or anyone else the right to say it runs rampant. PEOPLE: We’re all slinging insults … poxes on houses? … ridiculous mud back and forth. The real issue here is that the footage was HORRIBLE! Beyond horrible. And anyone responsible should PAY DEARLY. I think we can all agree on that. But to insult each other, accuse ALL dairy farmers or ranchers or animal caretakers of cruelty is inaccurate and wrong. Stop for just a second, everyone and think about it. MOST farmers, dairy folks, ranchers WILL NOT and DO NOT harm their animals. Stop the blanket accusations. Our family’s cows have names. They’re fed cookies as treats and my kids smother them with love from the day they’re born. Unfortunately that’s not the situation at Conklin. But PLEASE, don’t generalize everyone when you have NO IDEA. Cruelty is wrong. Yes. It should be punished. Yes. And THAT is what we should be working for, not the name calling and ridiculous generalizations.

  70. Deb Spilko says:

    Shocked by my recent knowledge of practices of inhumane treatment of farm animals, I recently began a blog for those in my area seeking humane sources for animal products.
    It was not meant for vegans. However,becoming familiar with the realities of “animal products” I certainly understand how people become vegans, but I don’t understand how vegan crticisms and coverage of animal cruelty make them any less valid.
    Ohioans concerned about this issue should check out Ohioans for Humane Farms, who are seeking to raise humane standards for farm animals in that state.
    Nationally, check out eatwild.org and American Humane.
    If you are looking for an intelligent discusssion on those concerned with the humane treatment of animals, don’t waste your time with this stupid site… or with Susan Crowell, whose conceit about seeking the “truth” in an animal abuse case has her idiotically wandering into a rant about child abuse. Shame on you Susie, for muddying the waters.

  71. Rachel Allen says:

    #1. To your question regarding the investigator’s identity–he’s “undercover”–that means he remains anonymous;
    #2. To your question regarding the details of Gregg’s hiring, as Conklin, the employer;
    #3. To your question regarding whether or not the Conklins knew about the investigation and their location during the investigation, again, ask the Conklins;
    #4. To your question regarding why Mercy for Animals doesn’t engage in protective actions for children, the answer’s right there in their name–Mercy for ANIMALS–get it? They’re not a child protective organization.

    Due to the advanced technology of cell phone cameras, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, and other internet sites, the abuse of animals on livestock and dairy farms has finally been revealed to the public–and most of the public do not like or support what they see.

    Further, even if a minority of the public has no compassion for the animals, they’re turning away from dairy and meat products because they’re getting weary of clogged arteries and bypass surgeries.

  72. Eleanor says:

    Susan Crowell is right on. I sent an email to Mercy for Animals seeking some of the answers to the questions she raises. Of course, I haven’t heard from them. Of all the dairy farms in all the states of the nation, the timing and the place where they chose to do an “undercover investigation” is extremely suspect given that HSUS is sending “volunteers” to the State of Ohio to collect petitions to put animal agriculture standards in the hands of Washington lobbyists.

  73. Mike says:

    This is true trash journalism.

  74. qwerty52 says:

    Susan Crowell,
    I agree 100% with the first part of your editorial. I wish you had stopped there and not continued with the second part. It was totally unnecessary, in the context of the Conklin/MFA case. Everyone but a tiny, sick minority totally rejects and abhors child AND animal abuse. There was no need to try to take the focus off of one by turning it to the other.

  75. qwerty52, in print the two are stand-alone commentaries. Obviously, that disconnect was lost in the online setup.

  76. Cathy says:

    So about your second installment. Uh, mulit-million dollar investigation? The people who filmed this are volunteers for the most part and the cameras they used were donated by a former technician for the FBI (that is why they are able to get such quality footage). And by the way the technician also donates cameras to organizations that go after human trafficking violations. One can feel compassion for animal AND children all at the same time. It’s true!!!

  77. Bill says:

    There are many unanswered questions here on both sides of the story. We no longer have a livestock component to our farm, we could not afford it any longer. The real simple truth here is this is a market driven consumer choice issue. All things are voted with dollars. Anybody who “shops” for the best price, or looks for the best value votes. When a drug store puts milk on as a “loss leader” for $2.59 a gallon or another store does the same thing the buyer votes and defacto sets the conditions as to how that product gets to them. If you think you can legislate this you are wrong. All you do is drive the choice to another location that is able to be the low cost producer. That can be the next state or the next country. Try and block it and all of sudden you are not selling car parts or something else you need to do to provide for yourself. So unless EVERYBODY is willing to vote with your dollars in everyday choices, this issue will only move not be resolved.

  78. Bonnie says:

    I am so sick of stupid people saying such stupid things. Yes, Mercy For Animals promotes veganism. That doesn’t mean their investigation and undercover footage is somehow less true or real. All of their investigations last 4 weeks. It is how they can be assured the abuse and neglect will be considered ongoing and not an isolated incident. And yes, they did purposely time their investigation to coincide with Ohio voting on more humane farm animal treatment so that they can draw attention to the cause and help pass the bill. Only stupid small minded dairy industry idiots have “questions” regarding the investigations, and no I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian, just an intelligent human who wants farm animals to be treated better.

  79. MES says:

    Wow the dairy industry is really shooting themselves in the foot here.

    I drink milk, eat cheese, etc but when I saw that video I saw red. I genuinely don’t believe that all farmers are abusing their cows like this, but the dairy industry’s peculiar reaction is making me question that.

    If they were truly as horrified and shocked as the general public, they would CONDEMN the cruel actions of those on the tape (including the OWNER of the farm, Gary Conklin, who can be seen stomping a calf’s head at the 1:25 ticker), DEMAND that Conklin dairy farm be shut down permanently, and THANK the undercover reporter who blew the lid off this Cow Concentration Camp.

    Instead they are desperately trying to kill the messenger and divert attention elsewhere! Incredible!!

    MANY of us who enjoy dairy and DO NOT want to become vegan are desperately searching for some MORAL LEADERSHIP from the dairy industry. I for one love dairy products, but will not buy them again until I am certain that no cow or newborn calf was hurt in the process. THAT is where your focus should be.

  80. Susan, You wrote a great article. You asked all the questions that I was wondering WHY they were not being asked. It is just TOO coincidental that a videographer just HAPPENS to be on a farm where abuse just HAPPENS to be occurring…Then there is Billy Joe. He obviously enjoyed his abusive behavior and he is one very very sick guy. Probably needs years of psychotherapy…while in prison. Re the video…it is well known that the animal rights organizations will ROUTINELY make videos which present the message they are pushing at the time. In this case, we have to wonder IF they did pay Billy Joe. We have to wonder WHY the videographer simply did not stop the bad behavior. Could any normal person stand there and watch that? I doubt it. They would have been screaming at Billy Joe and calling for the farm owner to fire the guy. This is horrendous abuse and everyone recognizes it. However, I doubt it is a commonplace since animals are VALUABLE and certainly a damaged animal has lots its value. But, beyond the value of the animal is the basic human value of compassion for life. Most humans do care about other creatures and do want them to be treated well. Other writers have mentioned that isn’t it coincidental that at this time the HSUS is pushing for regulations on farms in Ohio… ah yes, our dear HSUS, the organization that collects millions from the public and uses less than 1 percent on the animals. Can we even remotely imagine they care? No. They DO care about their donated dollars though.

    Again, Thank you Susan for asking the questions that any critical thinker would ask…just because we see a video, doesn’t mean we have ALL the answers.

  81. Mary Gibson says:

    I am ashamed that Susan does not see that animals are not ball bearings and the same God that made her made them. God did not expect man to be cruel in their care, but with the onset of Factory Farms, it appears this type of behavior is acceptable in farm practices, not on the farms my grandparents owned. I still remember the pigs being hanged on the farm in Stark County and the Agriculture Dept. considering this to be a proper method of disposing of animals. Not so in my book!

    It is sad that once the farmer was taken out of farming, acceptable practices included unspeakable cruelty. How sad for the livestock industry! I note the same folks that write on all the farming practices, i.e. Wylie are back in support of these practices!

  82. qwerty52 says:

    Susan Crowell, Thank you for your quick response, explaining what happened.

    Now on to my response to a few of the other comments above:

    Eric Mills wrote on 06/01/2010 @ 5:18 pm, “On a brighter note, this should help to pass the much-needed Ohio farm animal initiative.”

    And that is why many farmers believe MFA encouraged the abuse and released the video. The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board should be allowed to get to work and do its voter-mandated tasks based on science, not emotional manipulation.

    Tina wrote on 06/01/2010 @ 6:08 pm (and repeated the accusation several times, as did several others), “By the way Mr. Cocklin the owner himself was in the video particpating in parts of the abuse,” and “My favorite childhood memories are visiting the family farm and being a tiny bean pole of a kid having the ability to shew the cattle to the barn with nothing more than my voice and waving my hands in the air. Imagine that, an inexpierenced little girl can shew cows without cattle prods, this includes the bull.”

    I’m glad you have such pleasant childhood memories. My guess is you were shielded from the less pleasant aspects. Personally, I question the wisdom of letting a child in with an adult bull. Most of the times “shewing” the cows, or just calling them, is enough to get them where you want them. Sometimes an appropriate amount of force IS needed. Commenting ONLY on the few seconds of video from 1:25 to 1:28, involving the person identified in the video as Gary Conklin (and copied from my comments elsewhere on this site): I went back to those three seconds and viewed them in stop action on full screen. Just as filming from a certain angle can make it look like actors in a movie are landing hard punches, when they aren’t making contact at all, viewing the video the way I did showed the owner, Gary Conklin, did NOT kick the cow in the head – it doesn’t matter how many times a bunch of people say it. He *did* kick the cow twice, but in the area where the neck joins the shoulder. And he didn’t kick it with the steel toe of his boot (as some have stated), but with the sole. What’s the difference? That amount of force, applied in that manner, in that location, should NOT have hurt the cow. While some have said 1200 pounds, it’s likely she was over 3/4 ton. It would be like going up to a person and slapping them on the shoulder. And to top it off: this cow was NOT a total downer. If you watch the end of the segment, immediately after the second kick, she’s starting to rise. If she had collapsed in a heap after attempting to get up, you can bet that would have been included. Instead the video conveniently cuts off and goes back to Gregg’s depravity. My guess is she continued to rise, then just stood there. Showing that wouldn’t have had the emotional impact, however. If I’m correct, Mr. Conklin used just enough force to get the cow up, and was NOT abusing her. *He* doesn’t appear like he’s enjoying what he’s having to do, but doing what has to be done. Edited the way it was, in between acts so obviously horrific, makes one assume it’s more of the same.

    Susan wrote on 06/01/2010 @ 9:46 pm, “When I went grocery shopping this weekend I could not buy any of it though. I just thought of this video and said, “How can I possibly buy this? I. can. not. buy. this. I got the soy milk and soy yogurt, put the cottage cheese back on the shelf and did not buy any cheese for sandwiches. How can they expect us to consume this after this video?”

    If by “they” you are referring to the “animal rights” activists, “they” can’t. Which is likely the exact reason Gregg’s sickening abuse was encouraged and why the video was made and released.

    Hailey Rogers wrote on 06/02/2010 @ 12:01 am, “Not for profit organizations have too much to lose to carry out elaborate schemes to frame people.”

    Dairy farms have too much to lose by allowing such abuse on their farms. Even *if* they condoned such actions – WHICH THEY DO NOT – they know “animal rights” activists are out there trying to make everything they do look bad. Why is a dairy farmer NOT to be believed, while what an “animal rights” group claims is taken as the whole truth? MFA’s “investigator” is not an innocent rape victim, but someone who went onto the farm purposefully looking for abuse. Look at how much support they HAVE gained so far by “finding” it.

    I do not claim to KNOW exactly what happened in this case. I have my suspicions, as do others, that all is not as it seems. MFA deserves at least as much scrutiny as the Conklin’s are getting.

  83. Katie says:

    Wow, the dairy industry must pay this writer a lot of money to be this ignorant.

  84. concerned says:

    What most don’t seem to understand is that humans as well as animals feel pain! Most of the issues you bring up are ridiculous because they are not even comparable!!! Abuse is abuse no matter who it is done to and to try to say one should get more publicity than the other is absolutely crazy. Anyone who can intentionally harm a human or an animal should be prosecuted to the fullest. The same people that start their abuse with animals are the same people who wind up abusing people. Look at serial killers…a list was just posted on the web about what serial killers started with first. Yes, it is animals. So think twice before you dismiss animal abuse as not being an important or serious issue. That’s is where it all begins. These type of people seems to get pleasure from causing great pain to animals with no remorse. I definitely think our laws against any animals abuse(farm, domestic or wild) are far to lenient. Abusers should have to pay for their actions just as they would if the abuse was on a human. The most terrible thing the Conklin Dairy Farm case is that cows are not aggressive, they are very docile animals! It really makes me sick to see what abuse went on at this farm and to watch the owner himself kicking at his own livestock. Obviously Conklin doesn’t really care either because it sounds like they would just send the injured cows to slaughter after they were done with them anyways. I’m sure this wasn’t the first cow he had ever kicked either! This farm should be shut down and any workers should be prosecuted. Conklin should be banned from ever working with or owning any animals again! The families of these abusers should beware, you never know when they might turn on you!

  85. Ohio Dairy Farmer says:

    It’s important to point out that dairy farmers are not approving of this atrocious treatment of animals. Animals deserve to be treated humanely, and it would be difficult to find a farmer that would agree otherwise. Animals are our livelihood and they’re entrusted to our care. With the exception of a few awful cases of mistreatment, farmers care for their animals.

    That being said, I do not think there is anything wrong, inappropriate, or disgusting (as many of you above suggest) about the questions Crowell raises in her column. Animals deserve to be treated appropriately: yes. But, we also deserve to know the rest of the story behind this investigation. The truth of the matter is that there are groups that want our society to be vegan. It is likely those groups will do anything in their power to make their arguments, even at the expense of animals. If Mercy For Animals has nothing to hide, then they will answer the questions raised.

    The answer is not to ditch dairy, but instead, the solution should be more transparency from farm groups and animal rights groups alike.

  86. Michael says:

    Susan – NO EXCUSE!

  87. MES says:

    Thank you, Ohio Dairy Farmer. This is the type of reasonable response that people want to hear. I certainly don’t want to ditch dairy at all, but I feel very conflicted about buying it until I can be confident that animals did not suffer.

    Rather than attempting to change the subject or killing the messenger, it would be in the dairy industry’s best interest to condemn such cruelty CATEGORICALLY, then offer some transparency to the public so we can be confident that when we buy your products we don’t feel like supporters of such horrific cruelty.

    I’m no tree hugger and I think soy tastes like crap, but if you, the dairy industry, do not take the moral high ground and convince me that this BS will stop NOW, I’ll have no choice but to go vegan.

  88. Amy Katz says:

    It’s articles like this that hurt farmers – by attacking the messenger it appears thos ein agriculture aren’t concerned with the truth. When the police run a sting operation and purchase child porn over a time period, do you question whether the pedophiles are really guilty?

    Also, you can care about animals and people. Do you ever spend money on yourself or family for nonessentials (travel, music, entertainment, etc)? If so is it fair to say you don’t care about children because that money could have been donated to help them? Of course not – and just becasue I advocate for animals doesn’t mean I also don’t work on fighting out injustices releated to people

  89. starkfarm says:

    Susan- has stated several times that the abuse has no excuse! Just that a lot of questions need to be asked and answered.

    Here is a great write up by a large animal vet concerning the abuse, take the time to read it.

    http://causematters.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/veterinarians-response-to-animal-abuse/

  90. Fred Randere says:

    Farming community always covers up each others abuse. Disgusting….and the author is a hack…no wonder she writes for this rag. Just hope the judge isn’t sympathetic with the indusstry….otherwise this will be another disgrace swept under the rug.

  91. chuckc says:

    I find the author’s comments truly disgusting. She is trying to deflect away from the issue of farm animal abuse and divert attention from this subject by bringing up another area of abuse of children. As if people that care about farm animals don’t care about abused children. Please this is just typical industry misdirection. Don’t look here, look over there. The cover up has begun and this author and this media is obviously part of the coverup. Focus on this problem and solve it. Don’t try to direct our attention away from it by brigning up other areas of tragedy in our society that are not directly related to this incident.

  92. Young Cattle Producer says:

    After reading through this string of comments I must admit I don’t know where to start. So I think I’ll start with this sick, sad feeling I have in my gut. Last week when I first watched the MFA video I cried, it was the middle of the afternoon and I was at work, crying. A week later, I still feel like crying, but not because of this video, because of how we are treating one another. I find it sad that we cannot respect one another. It’s as if we have formed two camps, two warring tribes, each trying to prove they are right.
    It seems that we can all agree that what was viewed in the video was horrible, deplorable, and downright wrong. However what happened after the video is where we disagree. I myself raise beef cattle and it hurts me to know that some out there think I am an abuser, just because I’m a farmer. Words can cut, and I do my best to have thick skin but it pains me and throughly depresses me to think that this is what others see when they look at my industry, my farm, my way of life. You see, farming isn’t a job, it’s not something that you do, it’s who you are. And I am not an animal abuser, I am a farmer, I care for my cows, I love my cows, and I want my children to grow up raising cattle.
    So when someone tells me that I am an abuser, I’m hurt and I’m offended. I think many other farmers feel the same way, and that’s where the inflammatory comments about MFA and the investigator come in. The other warring tribe. Just as some think that Conklin Farms should be investigated so do most farmers think MFA should be investigated. And just as some have said that Conklin Farms should have nothing to worry about if this is not normal practices on their farms, then MFA shouldn’t have to worry if the video isn’t staged or Billy Joe wasn’t paid off. So no one is “shooting the messanger” or comdemning MFA.
    However I hope that in future posts, perhaps we can count to ten, breathe, and then comment. If we want to show respect for animals lives, then perhaps we should also show respect to one another, consumer, animal activist, vegan, non vegan, and farmer alike.

  93. Natalie says:

    Along the lines of ridiculous “questions” regarding the Conklin Farm Abuse someone like Susan could ask these serious questions.

    Why did the abuse occur only on the nights of the full moon? Is the MFA undercover officer actually a werewolf?

    The perpetrator of the violence appeared to have somewhat “vacant” eyes. Did the MFA hypnotize him so he would commit violence on the cows?

    There appear to be only three areas of the farm on the video. Did the MFA meticulously recreate Conklin Dairy Farm in a sound stage and hire people who look just like Gregg, Conklin and the other workers to enact the abuse in order to film it?

    In one section of the video it almost looked like there were alien pods in the corner.
    Are the members of MFA actually aliens and replicated Gregg, Conklin et al in order to achieve their goal of world domination by weakening the human race with a vegan diet?

    Absolutely… We demand the answers to these questions. We need to investigate MFA-supoena all emails, etc until we get to the bottom of this.

  94. Bill says:

    There is much to learn yet about both sides of this story. We no longer dairy, we could not afford to. This debate is about economics not treatment of animals. Today’s modern livestock facilities are a funtion of what the majority of consumers have requested by voting with their dollars. They are, by in large clean, cool, well ventilated and meet the needs of livestock, not pets. The reason you no longer have “Old McDonalds farm” is most people choose Today’s McDonalds and similar establishments for their dietary needs. The consumer has forced their iconic vision of farming out of existence with their constant pursuit of the best bargain.

    Let he that is without sin cast the first stone here people. When you buy Milk for $1.99/Gal, eggs for $.79/Dozen etc. it is the farmer that foots the bill. If they want to stay in business they have to find efficiencies to do so. That generally means larger facilities that lower their cost of production. Look what happened to Rubbermaid in Wooster, after Wally got done with them, different industry similar results.

    That is why you see the farms and old barns of Ohio disapearing and being replaced by larger confinement facilities, you have asked for it. Now don’t be so innocent and “shocked” by an isolated and rather “fishy incident”.

    Don’t think these producers are getting rich either, most are just trying to hang on. They get bigger because they have to. We choose to just get out. In doing so we no longer contribute to the economic health of our community as we once did. We are still farming but no longer have livestock.

    We sell produce at 11 farmers’ markets a week in the summer. And while this system is growing it is far from meeting the needs of our population. I know first hand the people who support us and thank them very much. However there are not nearly enough of them yet to keep Ohio’s agricultural system alive and the other industries that ag. supports viable as well.

    Most people just want their food cheap and easy so they can buy their i-phones, i-pods, concert tickets, cable, etc. etc. (Quality of life, I think they call it?)

    But there is no free lunch here folks. Don’t think you can legislate your desired morality without a cost either. All you will do is move to the next low cost producer wherever they are, the next state the next country. In the meantime we will destroy one of the few economically viable industries left in Ohio. Don’t think you can block trade if you think you are ever going to sell anybody anything else we try and make in Ohio either.

    In the U.S.A. we vote with our dollars more than our ballots. If all of you really want what you say you want, seek out someone who produces things the way you want them produced and support them. Don’t pass the buck then act self-rightous later.

  95. cathy says:

    i agree with the fact that the author of the article should not throw the investigator under the bus, nor should the author belittle animal rights…
    animals should be considered our brethren; not something for humans to manipulate… dude should go down for mistreating our brethren in such a way…
    it is unfortunate that society has driven farming to such an extent of overcrowding farms like it is farmville…

  96. Tina says:

    qwerty52

    Your defense of Mr. Conklin is simply tortured logic. The poor cow’s head went flying in the other direction due to the impact of each of Cocklin’s kicks. Also, the cow appears to be foaming at the mouth and with each kick you can see the foam flying across the stall due to the impact. So, this the example Mr. Conklin set for his employees. Greg, the featured abuser, used kicking multiple times as a method used to inflict abuse upon the cows.

    There is no excuse to kick a cow. There are plenty of humane methods to induce a large animal to get to its feet, if it is able. If it is unable to get to its feet using humane methods, then the cow needs to be seen by a vet.

    Temple Grandin, who is an authority on this subject, always promotes gentle handling of cows. Kicking a cow in the head or anywhere else does not constitute gentle handling and she does not condone using “force” to get the cooperation of a farm animal. Rather she promotes understanding the animal’s natural behaviors and using that understanding to gain cooperation from the animal. When Grandin condemned the abuse in the video, she said, : “The handling of both the calves and cows was atrocious animal abuse. These people were deliberately torturing animals and their behavior was totally sickening.” She didn’t make an exception for Mr. Conklin.

    The fact is the outrage regarding this issue is based on the horrors that are so easy to find in both this video (which you would hope is isolated to this farm) and other vidoes showing accepted practices within the industry.

    You have it wrong if you think that my outrage makes us enemies. On the contrary, I fully support the hardworking farmers that humanely care for their animals. That is why I am willing to pay for a quart of milk (certified by the Humane Society) what I would normally pay for a gallon of questionable origins.

    Also, I am an acitve consumer of local farmer’s market. I have found that my local farmers and ranchers are very friendly and willing to answer any and all questions I have about their farm operations. I have been very pleased with my interactions with these farmers and support them buy purchasing their products.

    Which brings us to transparency. Transparency is key. Which is what the farm and dairy leaders seem to be objecting to, and these objections ony help to fuel the outrage. As a consumer, transparency in the food chain is necessary. This enables consumers to have a way to connect with the farmers that share their values. If farm animal abuse isn’t as rapant as factory farm videos suggest, then transparency would only serve as a tool to help the image of farm and dairy.

    Also, their are certifications available for farmers who take pride in the husbandry of their animals. When I am unable to connect directly with my local farmers I use these certifications to determine what products to buy.

    Most of us outraged bloggers are consumers of your products. Wouldn’t it make more sense to work with us rather than against us? Otherwise you are creating more vegans and vegeterians who will not to purchase your products.

  97. Galaxio says:

    Katie, you said: “Wow, the dairy industry must pay this writer a lot of money to be this ignorant.”

    TRUE, and how blatantly paranoid this poor woman is!!!

  98. jill says:

    I have not eaten a piece of beef since I saw
    the mercy for animals video. I am not a vegan
    and I never was a vegan. It’s just that since
    I’ve watched the video and Billy Joe Gregg talking
    about how he beat the cow that refused to go into the milking parlor…he spreads out his arms and
    says; ‘her head was this big.’ Gary said they
    were ‘gonna’ send her to meat, ’cause she had
    mastitis an’ all.’ Just remembering that video
    and what he said. I just can’t bring myself to eat beef. The misery and suffering. I think
    about it every time I pass the meat counter at
    the grocery store. I’m also unhappy to hear they
    were trying to force a cow the knew had mastitis
    into the milking parlor to begin with, all that milk goes into a tank and to a dairy to be bottled. For all of us to consume. So awful,
    so sad, so criminal.

  99. Lou Peluso says:

    Your article is a pathetic expose of what lengths you will go to support the meat industry. You’re attempt to defend such cruelty speaks volumes of your pathetic character. This is only one of hundreds of such cruel acts that go on in your meat industry everyday. Stop trying to make those who exposed this cruelty to be the bad guys. You, by attempting to whitewash the video, are just as ugly and cruel as the scumbags on the video.

  100. LAA says:

    Susan, are you serious? Vegan agenda? Very paranoid. Is that the best you can come up with? And to imply Wayne Pacelle was involved is absurd. You question if MFA paid Gregg or urged him to abuse the animals. One of your many pathetic hypothesis. Please don’t ever go into law enforcement. You’ll never solve a crime. You would be letting the crimals walk the streets.

  101. qwerty52 says:

    Ah, Tina, If you’re going to throw Mr. Conklin in jail for kicking the cow as he did, you’re going to have to throw a bunch of cows in jail, too, for similarly “abusing” other cows. Have you ever seen a cow not-so-gently nudge another cow to get it to move, commonly just where this one was kicked? The amount of force applied to this cow by a person, conservatively 1/6 her mass, in this one scene (Again, I’m NOT referring to the sadistic beatings in the rest of the video) is similar to such a nudge. And using his foot keeps him out of her way so she can more easily rise. The head jerk is a reflex reaction to the push (nudge, kick) on the shoulder, similar to what you’d do if someone came up to you and slapped you on the shoulder if you weren’t expecting it.

    As many farmers have said, this cow likely has hypocalcemia (milk fever) and is somewhat out of it. We don’t see what treatment, if any, she received before this short clip. She may have received an IV, a SubQ injection, an oral drench (which could cause the excess salivation/foaming), or combination. I assume you know it’s important to get her on her feet as soon as she possibly can.

    Would you like to elucidate on the many “humane methods to induce a large animal to get to its feet”? Besides coaxing (we can’t tell if that or what else was tried before the clip starts) all of them I know cause as much or more inconvenience (and possibly pain) to the cow at some point in the implementation, and take longer, than a couple of well-placed, carefully-delivered kicks (again, with the sole, not the toe), and, yes, there ARE times those methods are more appropriate. Would you really rather have some such “more humane” method used, just because it looks better? If you REALLY care about your animals, you do what IS best, not what LOOKS best. Is it really better to call the vet and wait who knows how long, lessening the chance of success, or to have the cow up in just over 3-4 seconds.

    Let’s face it; although I’m responding to your post, I’m not writing to you. I’m writing to those who are still capable of reasoning, giving them an opportunity to see this little part of the video through something other than your extreme tunnel vision.

    I don’t KNOW what happened, and neither do you. I will agree transparency is needed, but it needs to be applied equally to the Conklin farm ***and*** MFA, animal agriculture and animal rights activists.

  102. Nancy says:

    I watched the video and I agree whole-heartedly that Gregg belongs in jail over his actions. But I also agree with the folks who said the videographer belongs there with him. There is absolutely NO WAY this kind of violent behavior took four weeks to get enough evidence for 3 minutes of abusive behavior on tape.
    If the owner really was portrayed in the video (the figure portrayed to be the owner was blurry unlike the rest of the video), then why are charges not filed against him as well?
    As stated by others, I also felt Gregg appeared to be talking and acting like he was fully aware he was being taped. I too have to question whether he was paid to ‘work at the farm’ by those who paid the videographer.
    Things that come to mind for me are that for the number of cattle on this farm, there never appears to be any other workers around when any of the abuse is being taped. Why is that? From all accounts Gregg sounds like he couldn’t wait to turn himself over to the police.
    The only thing I don’t question about the video is whether what was shown was abuse. It absolutely was. Knowing that many animal rights groups have paid people to abuse animals in videos to get ‘proof’ of their claims before should make any reasonable person question things that don’t seem quite right, ESPECIALLY when it coincides with pending legislation or petitions being pushed by animal rights groups as this one does.
    Susan asks some very legitimate questions in her article that many of us have. They are all questions that should be asked and answered in a court of law.

  103. FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

    I have never seen such a bunch of violent, nasty, hateful people like many who have commented here. Sadly, they all say they are anti-cruelty-though, they sure make violent, downright cruel statements against other human beings. HIPPOCRITS!!! We live in a country where we are to be judged innocent until proven guilty. So many Holier-than-thou-art commenters have made so many nasty, violently cruel comments about the Conklins and they have only heard one side of the story-that from a crazed, extremely biased extremist group. For those of you that protect this group and say that cameras dont lie: be aware that this group was found to make a false video in 2005 in making an “under-cover” video of an egg farm. Also be aware that closely allied groups have paid people (almost $200,000) to testify in their favor.

    The author of this article CLEARLY stated she was not saying that the intentional abuse by the employee was acceptable-but so many commenters have bashed her for being sypathetic to animal abuse… cant you people read correctly???? One of the main ideas she wrote was NOT to form opinions until AFTER all the facts were laid out-meaning the Conklins side and the investigation facts!!

    I whole-heartedly agree when she stated that basically, this animal case was getting much more attention than any human case…Commenters have basically said that animal abusers should be treated more-or-less harsher than those inflicting pain on other humans.

    I find many of these comments repulsive-those who think they are correct, and they have the right to be the judge and jury in this case need to be thrown out of this country and be sent to a communist country. No wonder this country is going to the dogs-people like this are ruining the basic rights we have. For all you others: please thoroughly get ALL facts and sides before you pass judgement…there are always 2 sides to every story.

  104. Ohio Dairy Farmer says:

    Jill-

    I agree that the abuse was absolutely unacceptable. Please realize, however, that even a cow with mastitis needs to be milked. The fact that they were trying to move her into the milking parlor was for her own sake.

    Furthermore, please make sure that you have your facts straight. Dairy farmers must milk out cows that are sick or have been treated wtih antibiotics separately from the rest of the cows. Those cows’ milk is dumped and never enters the tank with the good milk. A farmer milks out a cow with mastitis not to make a few bucks and to get a consumer sick but to care for the cow.

    There are many checks and balances in place to ensure that your milk is safe. Milk is sampled at the farm and tested for any foreign substances. Trucks that carry milk are sampled again at the bottling plant. Throughout the process, the farms and the plants are inspected for sanitation. The end result is a safe product that has been tested many times.

    If you have questions or if you’re not 100% sure of the process that gets milk from the cow to the grocery store shelf, please ask a farmer.

  105. Annette says:

    I’m pretty sure that if you read the article the reporter is in no way condoning what happened on that farm. She is asking questions about the hidden agendas behind this video. Is it a coincidence or were they trying to rally support for the HSUS’s upcoming battle for control of agriculture in Ohio?

    “And her husband’s suggestion that since there are other issues that should be dealt with, maybe we shouldn’t deal with these issues is one for the Idiot Hall of Fame.”
    Personally, I believe that there are NUMEROUS issues that are far more serious and deserve immediate attention. I do NOT think that animal cruelty is right, but I also believe that the majority of Ohio’s farmers would never treat their animals in this manner.

    I hope to [sic] there are no children in that house; the world doesn’t need another idiot.”
    -Sorry, but there are two of us. Both are members of the National Honor Society and have been on the Dean’s List in college. If we’re “idiots,” then the world must be a pretty decent place. =)

  106. Jason Smith says:

    Bill – Best post on the topic! People have been voting with their pocketbooks and as population grows this “meatrix” is the result. All that’s left are huge milk factories or small farms that are more or less sub-contractors to the big boys. In order to fill demand, they have engineered cows that produce way more milk than those of the past, and they feed them all kinds of hormones to get more milk out of them. That in itself is cruel. But if that weren’t enough, they’re so crowded that they get sick all the time, so they give them anti-biotics. Some say that pretty soon the bacteria are going to be anti-biotic resistant. Then what?

    Then you’ve got your farmer’s market milk and cheese and meat. It’ll cost you, but it will be better (though I still insist that milk is not fit for human consumption).

    Jill – Welcome to my world. When I’m in the grocery store all I can think when I see the milk and cheese is “that gross liquid came out of a cow”. When I see the meat I think “that was the insides of a cow (or many many cows in the case of hamburger)”. When I see eggs I think “that came out of a chicken”. So many people are so far removed from their food that they don’t even think about it. To me, it’s not even food anymore. I am so much happier without it. But I’m always left wondering why 95% of America does not see it the same way I do.

    MES – I was once right where you are, asking the same questions, saying “If I can’t find cruelty-free dairy then I’m not going to consume it.” and I realized it just wasn’t worth eating. Most cheese is coagulated through non-vegetarian processes. The coagulation of milk is achieved by the addition of rennet, the active ingredient of which is the enzyme chymosin (also known as rennin). The traditional source of rennet is the stomach of slaughtered newly-born calves. Does that sound tasty? If you want cruelty-free milk, buy yourself a cow or find a good friend or farmer’s market who has milk. It’s just not our grandparents’ world anymore.

  107. jill says:

    Dear Ohio Dairy Farmer, 6/3/10 7:50 AM

    Thank you, for clearing up the cow milk/mastitis in the milk supply issue. Yes, I understand that
    a sick cow still needs to be milked. I’m just
    supposing here…but I imagine it can be quite
    painful to the cow. Is that why she wouldn’t go
    into the millking parlor? When a cow won’t go into a milking parlor what does a farmer do? I hope you all don’t beat your cows over the head,
    stab them, and “send them to beef!” Of course,
    I know you don’t. When I was a young, an uncle
    had a small herd of dairy cows (30 or so) he
    left the radio on in the barn for them. Happy cows give more milk, was the theory. Is it still considered to be true today? I used to go out to the pasture and read story books aloud to them. The would all come over, lay down, just like they knew what I was reading. I would have asked my uncle but he has been gone a long time now. So, thank you again for the information. Jill

  108. Serena says:

    Animals rights activists are exactly that, people who act on the behalf of non-human animals, wanting them to gain rights. Speaking on their behalf, because they don’t speak our language. Starting with a right to fair treatment and ending somewhere around freedom to live for their own purposes instead of a mean to our ends. People who criticize animal rights activists fall in the same category as those who critizes black and women’s rights. There is no excuse to kill animals for food, especially in a time when the world is abundant with nutritionally rich fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Might doesn’t make right. I was just a “typical” 20 something last year when I finally woke up and smelled the cruelty and death. Farmers who say they treat their animals kindly are lying, because murder isn’t kind. All of these animals end up dead. For every excuse for eating animals, there are a hundred reasons not to. As Alice Walker (author of the Color Purple) says: “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.”

  109. Ohio Dairy Farmer says:

    Jill-

    Thanks for taking the time to understand the process! It seems like a lot of parties engaged in this conversation are so set in their ways, that they don’t take time to realize where the other side is coming from. So, I appreciate you wanting to learn.

    You’re right, some times mastitis can be painful for a cow. Fortunately, farmers have great relationships with veterinarians, so they’re able to establish a course of treatment for her. You’re also on to the fact that all cows can get uncomfortable when they’re not milked- mastitis or not. Imagine carrying that large udder around full of milk, you’d be uncomfortable too!

    Most of the time, it’s not hard to get a cow into the milking parlor. Cows are milked in groups, so for the most part, they’re always with a group of other cows. Since cows are social creatures, when one moves, the rest usually follow! It’s fun to watch the cows, because you can quickly pick out the cow “boss.” She’s the leader, and the rest tag along behind her. Also, since all animals, even cows, are creatures of habit, they’re used to getting milked at a certain time every day. Therefore, it’s much easier to move cows.

    When cows don’t move, they seem to respond really well to voice commands. Like someone pointed out above, a lot of times, just giving them a loud “Yuppppp,” and a wave of the arms will move them. If that doesn’t work, a simple slap on the back gets them moving. Most dairy cows weigh around 1200 pounds, so when a 200 pound person taps them on the back, they barely flinch. It’s usually enough to get them going.

    It’s funny that you mention your uncle having a radio on in the barn, because we do the same thing in the milking parlor! Of course, the employees milking enjoy it, but the noise also seems to help keep the cows calm. I can’t say that I’ve ever read books to the cows, but we do have heifers (young females that haven’t had calves) at our house. I love going out and sitting in the pasture and watching them. They’re curious, so they always come up, and there’s nothing quite like a cow kiss!

    Again, thanks so much for the questions. If you need more information, there are great videos online at http://www.dairyfarmingtoday.org, or our farm is on Twitter (DialDairy), Facebook (Dial Dairy), and Blogger (www.dial-dairy.blogspot.com) Hope you can check it out!

  110. MES says:

    I would like to sincerely thank Ohio Dairy Farmer for explaining all this stuff to us city folk. I wish all farmers were like Ohio Dairy Farmer because then I wouldn’t feel angst when in the grocery deciding whether or not to buy milk (yesterday while that ghastly video was fresh in my mind, I couldn’t do it-bought soy–kids have been complaining since).

    But serious question: how can a consumer differentiate between the milk produced on a humane cool farm run by decent humans vs milk (or meat, eggs, etc) produced on a Conklin farm where the cows are being terrorized? I ONLY want to buy from the cool farms. If I can’t find a way to differentiate, I’ll go vegan.

  111. Rhonda says:

    Gee Susan,
    It does not suprise me one bit where you stand on this issue considering who you work for…you and your ridiculous allegations of some kind of “set-up”make me sick,these poor animals cannot defend themselves….I hope the Conklins Lose everything this is not what dairy farming is suppose to be,to bad you have been brainwashed by your paycheck…

  112. okiestorm1 says:

    I thank the person who abused these animals or any one that abuses or mistreats animals should have the same treatment performed on them then sent to prison. I did not see the video and don’t want to, the article alon was enough to break my heart. I have cows,horse goats,and chickens and I can’t understand how some one can be so cruel to an animal.That so called human needs to be beaten with a big pipe so he will know how it feels.

  113. okiestorm1 says:

    Serena. most amimals are killed for food in a humane way. Most of them that go to slaughter are older cows that can’t produce anylonger. I don’t agree with all that go for meat but it is better than letting them die out in a pasture getting so old they can’t even get around any more. I would rather take my cows to slaughter then watch them die of old age and maybe get eaten by peditors because they couldn’t get away for them. I raise goats for meat and it kills me to sell my little billys but you cant have the over population of animals because they would starve to death. there is not enough land left for animals to grow to an old age. the cities are useing it up.We treat animals some of us any way better then we treat eachother. Animals get old and sick we put them down, we have to watch our own family members die slowly in pain because it is inhumane to put a person down who is dying and in pain. Thank about that for a while.For the most part sending an animal to slaughter is the best thang for them.

  114. Jason Smith says:

    MES – If you really want to drink milk and are worried about cruelty then go to a farmer’s market. I know where mine is in Houston. There is a dairy guy there and an egg guy and a chicken guy and a beef guy at my farmer’s market. They are friendly and can sell you “happy cow” milk. The most humane milk would only be the extra milk that is left after the calf is done drinking.

    A lot of people roll their eyes when “animal rights” are discussed. I think in terms more of mercy and dominion. To me, animals are an innocent and true reflection and gift of God’s love and the way we treat them shows the respect that we have for God’s beautiful earth. When we commoditize animals some of that innocence is lost. The more removed from the process we become the uglier it gets “behind the scenes”.

    One more thing, I have recently switched to almond milk for my cereal. You might give that a try. I like it better than soy or rice milk. As more people realize the truth about factory farms and make the switch, better “substitute products” will make their way to the market. In my nearly 20 years of being vegetarian the market for vegetarian and vegan products has exploded.

    Best to you all.

  115. Ohio Dairy Farmer says:

    MES-

    I’m glad my comments helped you understand a little more about dairy production! I’ve been thinking about your question for a while and how you can be sure that the milk you’re buying comes from farms that treat their animals humanely. Of course, we like to think that all farmers care for their animals appropriately, but I can understand your concern.

    Each farm sells their milk to a different processor. In Ohio, there are two main family-owned processors: Toft Dairy in northern Ohio and Smith Dairy outside of Wooster. By putting their name on the label, those families are putting their seal of approval on the product. You might be able to put your mind at ease by purchasing from a smaller company like that, sincethey are very in-tune with the farms that give them milk. Not to say that larger processors aren’t, of course!

    Another option would be to visit a dairy farm. If you liked how the animals on that farm were cared for, maybe you could choose to support that particular milk processor. Just a thought!

  116. MES (and others):
    Following up on Ohio Dairy Farmer’s comment, there is also a code on every container of milk that you can use to track where your milk came from, i.e. what state and plant/processor, etc.. You can learn more at this website:
    http://whereismymilkfrom.com/

  117. Lea Law says:

    I found this article to be a little stupid and a lot biased. I’m in shock that a so-called reporter could be so completely taken in by her own industry’s propaganda that rather than simply cover the news and report the facts, her own agenda to protect the farming industry at all costs was all over the page.

    I am not familiar with Mercy For Animals so I went on their web page. Yes, they promote a Vegan diet. So do numerous physicians (see PCRM.ORG) It’s healthy to avoid cholesterol and high fat in your foods. My doctor recently put me on a Vegan diet to lower my cholesterol which was 320. In four months of not eating meat or dairy, my cholesterol is down to 214! And I’m enjoying my food and feeling better and have lost weight. Above and beyond that, the whole idea of factory farming our food is revolting. Be honest people — and really think about it — the practice of meat and dairy farming is by its very nature, cruel. In order to provide people with milk, a cow has to be constantly lactating (which means constantly pregnant). If she has a boy calf, that boy is sold for veal, where it lives out its short, miserable life in a tiny box before being slaughtered for our palettes. If the cow has a girl, she too gets to be pregnant all the time and get hooked up to machines to, once again, satisfy our palettes.

    I realize that a lot of farmers make a living off animals. So that makes it true that it really is sort of difficult for them to regulate cruelty on their own farms — Think about it — if a farmer can make more money from shortcuts, or making a few animals unhappy or uncomfortable, what are they going to do? Let’s put it this way, only the most altruistic people are going to put the needs of animals first. Money is their primary motivator, not love of animals. That’s obvious and no one could really argue it.

    I’m not saying all farmers are bad people — what I am saying is that their primary motivator is making a living, not loving and caring for the sentient beings that they are using to make a buck. Therefore, it is necessary for other groups to keep an eye on the farmers to make sure they are not exploiting these animals, mistreating them or otherwise. And frankly, yes, if the world were Vegan, we wouldn’t have to worry about any of this at all and we’d probably all be a lot healthier. But right now the world isn’t Vegan so we do have to concern ourselves with the welfare of these animals and that should be the priority.

  118. Becca Gill says:

    Again, well said Susan – an accomplice to a murder gets charged.. why not animal cruelty? I think the motives here were not so much about the animal’s well being but about building a good case for the Vegans who believe we should all follow their ways. My husband and I have raised all the same questions that you do!

  119. MES says:

    Thanks to those of you who offered ideas for me to find out where my milk is coming from! Yes I too would love to think that all farmers treat their livestock humanely, but videos such as Conklin and others prove that SOME farmers do not.

    I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water but like many consumers I am determined to find a way to ONLY buy from cruelty free farms.

    I live in suburban los angeles, so visiting a farm is probably not realistic. We do have a farmers market, but they mostly sell produce, not meat or dairy. And unfortunately I couldn’t use the http://whereismymilkfrom.com/ because the only thing in my frig right now is SOY!

    But my quest for cruelty free products will continue.

    It also just occurred to me….when MFA or any other animal welfare groups that goes undercover….what happens when they spy on a farm and find NO cruelty? THOSE farms need to be in the spotlight too, so we consumers can make a point of buying from THEM. There HAS to be a way to separate the good from the bad!!

  120. Terre Roche says:

    In this article you ask where the owners of the farm were when the video was being shot. I have read that the owner of the farm, Gary Conklin, is seen on the video punching a downer cow in the face.

  121. Vivian says:

    Dear Ohio Dairy Farmer – You had me at playing a radio for the cows!….Not really, now to the real questions. How do you dispose of your unwanted male calves? I hope you don’t use a 2X4 board, shovel, or hammmer to kill them. When we butchered for the year, the cow was killed with one shot to the head. An instant death. A 22 rifle would work in this case as the calves are small. Maybe, you can have this conversation with the other farmers when you are spending your mornings drinking coffee at Cenex. I wonder about people who eat veal or lamb. They need to be given a tour of the farms and slaughterhouses at the very least they should know how that juicy meat they are enjoying got there.

  122. Tricia says:

    If this was the only video I’d seen about the abuse of farm animals, then maybe, just maybe, I’d say it wasn’t the case everywhere. However, you can find multiple internet sites showing you the abuse chickens, pigs, turkeys, cows, etc., all being abused for the sake of man to have food. Yes, I want to be able to eat meat, but I will now only buy free range or simply go without. As a child my father was a hunter and a fisherman so we ate a lot of wild game. My father was humane, he never killed anything he couldn’t put on the table for his family. Ever since I saw that article, I have been unable to pull out any meat from my fridge as I have no idea of where it came from. It’s my duty to find free range game so I know that the animal was able to be free to walk in the sun and eat grass or flap its wings. Do I want to become a vegan? Not really. I just don’t want innocent animals put in cages where they can’t even move, have their babies ripped from their side, have male chickens thrown into shredders. And yes, children are being abused every day. It just goes to show the sad state of the human race. I wonder how and where did all these folks become so immune to pain and suffering. It’s a sad world we live in today. Maybe I by myself cannot do anything to change it. On the other hand, if I give up meat unless it is free range, if I have the nerve to stand up to a parent if I witness them mistreat a child or an animal, I do have the ability to make the difference in those lives that I come across. So I can’t change the world, but I sure as heck can take circumstances in my hands when I cross the path and not be afraid to speak up.

  123. Mark Alpern says:

    SOMEONE…. PLEASE takes Susan’s keyboard away from her before she hurts herself with it!! What a complete shill she presents herself to be here. Like anyone gives a sh*t if anumal abuser Gary Conklin checked fellow animal torturer Billy Joe I Married My Mom’s Daughter Gregg before he hired him to help torture animals. Let’s see if I get this straight Susan… the MFA videographer, according to you, isn’t outraged by child abuse so we should all see him as evil instead of concentrating ON THE REAL STORY HERE. Which is for your sake Susan PEOPLE BEATING DEFENSELESS ANIMALS TO DEATH FOR FUN AND ENTERTAINMENT. Hey, here’s a link for ya Susan. Did you know that MOST SERIAL KILLERS started abusing animals before they moved on to human victims? There you go Susan. I helped you find the lik you were looking for. Now, go take a LONG walk on a SHORT pier. PLEASE!

  124. Ohio Dairy Farmer says:

    Vivian-

    I’ve never heard of anyone killing bull calves at birth. You’re right that on a dairy farm there isn’t much of a use for males, but there are many other farms that feed the male animals until they’re adults to become beef.

    Our bull calves, for example, are sold to a man who has a farm just for raising male animals (steers at this point) until they reach the size to be marketed. From an economics standpoint, it wouldn’t make any sense for us to kill bull calves, because then we’re getting no returns from that animal. However, if we can sell the calf to someone else who can get use from it, then we’re not taking a zero on the calf, and more importantly, the calf’s life isn’t wasted.

  125. 4Truth,Justice,Etc. says:

    Applause to John and Linda (6/1). This is a ridiulous and disgusting article. Right on, Eric Mills. How can a “paid lackey for the industry” wearing the sweetly smiling, presumably innocent expression, of Ms. Crowell in the photo at the head of this column, commit such a blatant breach of trust against the public she is supposed to faithfully serve?

    Is it just possible, I wonder, that Ms. Crowell has an agenda of her own that has nothing to do with honest reporting? Was this a Letter to the Editor? Seems to me, it’s being passed off as news reporting. Sad when a publication with the circulation of Farm and Dairy cannot muster the professional competence required to differentiate between the two.

    I live in the hood in Dayton, OH, and I started to rescue dogs who a 5 year old could tell you needed immediate help, while the authorities and neighbors chimed in and claimed I was the problem. It was my snooping, they claimed, and interference, preventing them from continuing to force the silent suffering of the innocent in the hands of the ignorant that caused the conflict. If I would have just turned a blind eye to their abuse, if I had just minded my own business, they said, everything would have been okay. For whom would it have been okay? Anyone joining in to help Ms. Crowell mis-paint the story of this investigation and the abusive hands behind it, that’s whom.

    Now let’s move on to some of Ms. Crowell’s fans: To argue that an undercover investigator is supposed to interfere to stop the illegal activity they are taping as evidence is ludicrous. How are they supposed to gather evidence, if they reveal their identities by immediately jumping in to save the animals? It is a sad statement about humans, but we are unable to determine, and carry out justice, without the painstaking steps involved in that evidence gathering process. Without the evidence, a human case is dismissed with no charges. In an animal abuse case, without clear and OVERWHELMING evidence of ATROCITIES, there is no case.

    For those of you who don’t seem to understand the concept of “undercover”, it means to hide one’s identity. How does one stay in, and out, of the closet at the same time, I wonder? Anyone of you who suggested the undercover agent was at fault want to share how s/he could have maintained anonymity AND helped those animals on the spot? Anyone of you who suggested that s/he blow cover EVER been involved in prosecution? I thought not.

    I would personally like to hear Ms. Crowell answer M Gwynn’s 6/1 comment: “You asked ‘did the owners know what was happening?’…and you claim to have watched the video? Did you NOT notice that the owner, himself, was shown repeatedly kicking a cow?!!! Shame on you!”

    It seems to me that, in light of the number of comments pointing out the obvious, that Ms. Crowell’s story is a twisted piece of trash not to be mistaken for journalism, she and Farm and Dairy owe their readers another retraction and apology for printing a Letter to the Editor in a news column.

    It is clear that, if you lack writing talent, plenty of your bloggers could manage to construct equally compelling and grammatically correct stories, minus the CAFO bias. There is no excuse to continue pretending you know how to manage, and present, news, when you continually allow reporters to try and bully readers with editorialized articles.

    Either train your current writing staff to write meaningful, well-researched, un-biased articles, or get out of the publication busness.

  126. Vivian says:

    Hi Dairy Farmer – Thanks for the response. Growing up, our neighbors down the road had dairy cows but we didn’t know them. We had no interaction other than once in a while one of our cows would jump the fence and get on their property. How do you bottle feed so many male calves to get them ready to sell?..or do you leave them with the mother…BUT..wouldn’t you be losing profit from losing that milk? Obviously, you are not an factory farm. I have seen little calves in the sales barn for sale. I preferred to think some kindly farmer would buy them. I hate to take off my rose-colored glasses it makes me feel bad.

  127. Ohio Dairy Farmer says:

    All of the calves get their mother’s first milk, called colostrum. Colostrum is high in nutrients and antibodies, so it helps the calves get a kick-start. After that, the calves are fed milk replacer; it’s very similar to baby formula. It does take a lot of time to mix up all of the milk and make sure each calf is getting individual care, but it’s all part of the job! Each calf has its own pen at this stage of life (and don’t worry, there is plenty of room for the calves to walk around and lie down), so it makes it a lot easier to monitor each calf. On our farm, we have anywhere from 10-30 calves at once, depending on the time of year.

  128. 4Truth,Justice,Etc. says:

    Vivian,

    As is typical of people who have something to hide, Ohio Dairy Farmer left out LOTS of details about the lives of those calves.

    When are they taken away from their mother? How much room is in the pens? How much of their lives are spent there? What happens to calves who become veal?

    Vivian, don’t expect the farmers to applaude you losing those glasses. CAFOs (who never admit to their status as a CAFO, because they want us all to believe meat comes from old-fashioned, small farmers), want you to stay deluded. If that is NOT true, please, someone who calls himself a farmer, please explain WHY they shield their facilities from the public.

    Anyone who wants to understand the complexities of this issue, which CAFOs over-simplify, watch Food,Inc. Look into the limitation on our 1st Amendment rights put into place by the industry to prevent anyone from publically criticizing them. Check out how IMPOSSIBLE it is to sue a food producer who poisons you, or your children.

    CAFOs are NOT farms, they are horror shows, nothing more than assembly lines, ENTIRELY UNCONCERNED with the suffering of any animal.

    They want us to believe the Conklin farm is an isolated incident. Seems to me, there are enough cases of abusive farms in the news to make that preposterous notion obsolete. How can they argue the incidents are isolated, when they occur so frequently. The reason more investigations do NOT take place is because of the secretive nature of farms, trying to keep investigators OUT, so they can continue to hide the abuse. What else ARE they hiding, if that is not it?

    Think, people, think. When BIG MONEY tosses their fat around, it’s not that difficult to trace the information trail and recognize that it is really propoganda. Look for the money trail, and you will find evil at the end of it.

  129. Jen says:

    To the ladies and gentlemen who think that Susan is making up the Vegan agenda. Please note the link to MFA’s website. It flat out STATES it is promoting a Vegan lifestyle/diet/agenda

    Mercy For Animals – animal rights organization promoting a …
    Mercy For Animals is a 501(c)(3) non-profit animal rights organization focused on promoting a vegetarian diet.

    http://www.mercyforanimals.org/ – Similar

    The questions she asks ARE legit. And I have another one… At any time did the “investigator” report this “abuse” to Conklin or the Farm Manager? If not, not only did they NOT give the farm a chance to make corrections (fire the abuser, Gregg or any other of the (according to some articles) workerS involved) MFA’s undercover investigator is also guilty by association and failure to take any immediate action to prevent the abuse witnessed.

  130. Melissa says:

    I find this article and anyone defending this terrible situation extremely disturbing. It is what it is, simple as that. This is sick and twisted that anyone could be so malicious and then to support the sadistic people to boot. Anyone who agrees with me should be more aware of what products we decide to support in our every day lives.

  131. Super Mom says:

    Does the vegetable industry ever police it’s own abuse. As a casual observer of the Green Tomato farms in our area, have any of you Vegans ever seen the harvest here. Bring your cameras around while hand harvest is going on. See how long you’ll be around. I just want you all to know where your food comes from.

    You vegans ought to come here to Seneca/Sandusky/Ottawa county and see the great green tomato harvest in August, September, and early October. The big chemical spray rigs, the undocumented farm workers of different origens working at different sides of the fields because they don’t get along. Big semi trucks speeding down county roads with no regard. 25 workers packed into the back of rent-a-vans. Getting your corn fields crapped in. We put our livestock under lock and key at night because they do come up missing. Goats, young calves are the most vulnerable. Drugs, vice, you name it. Tomatoes are picked green, sized, put on a semi, gassed, shipped to the big city, and come off the truck red. Enjoy your vegetables

  132. 4Truth,Justice,Etc. says:

    Ah, the whining voice of agri-biz, once again fearing profit loss. Regardless of Mercy for Animals’ agenda, consider how far they are from achieving it. Jen, so what, if there are individuals who have formed a small group (nothing close to the size of a CAFO or nearly as powerful as the almight Farm Bureau) who would like to see the world take responsibility for food consumption? Nothing rouses the voices of the wealthy and powerful faster than fear of profit loss. The louder agri-biz protests, MFA and friends of animals, the more assured we can be that the point of the arrow has stricken near the heart.

    The point of under cover operations is to provide legal evidence that will effectively allow a prosecutor to convince a judge and jury of guilt, according to the law. If you blow your cover by revealing who you are, how do you get that evidence?

    Mark Alpern: Thanks for the endorphin flow! LOL Take away her keyboard before she hurts herself with it!!! hee hee

    Super Mom: You sound scary!!! If I am not mis-interpreting, you are saying that these “farm workers of different origins” are stealing your goats and smoking pot? Are you suggesting that race explains theft?

    I can’t disagree that we would all be better-served to know more of the truth about where all of our food, including the veggies, come from. Your sarcastic comparison of veggies to farm animals who suffer from being kicked, beaten with shovels, and poked with forks reflect poorly upon your own sense of ethics.

  133. Deb says:

    Great going Sue….try to incriminate Mercy for Animals who exposed the abuse and not the Conklin crime family and its employees. Disgraceful!
    And as for the connecting child abuse into this issue…
    EPIC FAIL!
    STUPID ARTICLE!

  134. Eyes Wide Open says:

    Susan’s article was well written and she has some great questions. I personally don’t believe everything I read or see. Videos can and are edited to show what different organizations want them to show in order to promote their ownagendas. The video showed some horrific treatment of dairy cattle/calves with Gary Conklin shown in the middle (spliced in) kicking a downed cow trying to get it to stand up. The only one in the video who didn’t know he was being filmed was Gary Conklin. If all of you will look at the video (eyes wide open) without your emotions (even though it is sickening) and ask yourself the same questions Susan has brought up, you will wonder what the true purpose of “Mercy for Animals” was in filming the video. Perhaps to promote veganism for all of us? Farmers value their livestock and they do not treat their animals this way. Step back and look at the whole situation before you pass judgement on Conklin Dairy. The Conklin family are victims as much as the cattle are in this situation. The employee (perhaps hired by “Mercy” for Animals?) was the actor in the video and should be made to pay for his actions, as well as the camerman. Open your eyes folks and don’t blindly accept what you are being told.

  135. Dog Psych says:

    Eyes Wide Open but Mind Wide Shut: What a ridiculous statement. An animal welfare organization, a group I imagine you despise for their tree-hugging, peace-loving ways, tapes animal abuse to support a vegan agenda? Get off the paranoid wagon. As I have said before, why do you care if they have a vegan agenda? How powerful do you think they are? It takes a lot more than giving the public information to cause a radical change in behavior.

    Rather than the MFA having a hidden agenda, it seems the biased writer of this EDITORIAL intends to slam MFA and the animal welfare movement, in general. Rather than focus on the disgusting abuse in the video, you and Susan think the focus should be on the film crew. She mentions the abuse and then spends the article trying to start her own investigation of MFA. There’s some un-biased, non-agri-biz slanted reporting for you. Guess you are under Monsanto’s thumb, too, huh? Sorry for you.

  136. WTF?? says:

    Eyes Wide Shut said: “Open your eyes folks and don’t blindly accept what you are being told.”

    I did exactly that. I opened my eyes and saw a video of Gary Conklin and his employees brutalizing and torturing calfs and cows FOR FUN.

    The video speaks for itself and there is NOTHING that can possibly mitigate the horror it depicts. Face it: the dairy industry just got their ass handed to them by a bunch of hippies. Quit your sniveling and get over it.

  137. jill says:

    I find it to be an unrealistic presumption on
    the part of Susan and her husband, Keith to simply presume that becaause people are upset over this video of animal abuse, that they can’t be upset over the abuse of children. She and her husband are perhaps so simple minded as to be able to concern themselves with one issue at a time. The people I know are not simply outraged over this video, the are outraged over the video that shows oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. They are outraged over elder abuse. They are outraged over the video of Joran van der Sloot
    walking into a hotel room with a girl we know is
    doomed. The idea that Susan and Keith Crowell can
    only think about one issue at a time is ludicrous
    and the idea that they think the rest of us are that stupid is insulting.

  138. Tom says:

    Susan – This article is a perfect example of how evil infiltrates our lives and our world. Denial and redirection. I believe your husband did you a great disservice in your spiritual journey by nullifying the true discomfort with evil that you were feeling – by redirecting your thoughts and making you feel better about this situation. I’m sure he had the best of intentions, but that is often how evil works. Blaming the messenger is the oldest dark trick in the book. In the future I hope you will be able to trust your divine wisdom and affirm what you know to be true. Please don’t be afraid to call out evil when you see it and use the power given to you to move us all toward a more just and peaceful world. Defending evil never leads to good – neither does pretending that it is not that big a deal compared to other “bigger evils”

    In full disclosure, I do eat and use animal products – and like most of us, will probably not stop completely anytime soon. But I have become much more careful as to where I buy those products and where they are sourced. Less violence, cruelty and toxins across the board. You can help us all to move in that direction. I hope you will. Thank you for reading.

  139. Virginia says:

    I will make darn sure that I do not purchase any product produced by any farmer linked to Farm and Dairy. It is the responsibility of each of us to monitor and control the care of the livestock that provide us sustenance. If we are going to consume it, we darn sure better know where it comes from! If we don’t then we too are responsible for any abuse or cruelty.
    This ridiculous attempt to distract from the truth is sad, just really sad. Here was an opportunity to join together to improve the industry and you chose to increase the disgust and distrust.
    This will not serve you well.

  140. Barbara says:

    Susan, you say we deserve the truth, well, that’s what the video showed us. Truth. But since to you it was an unpalatable truth that interfered with your deeply held predjudices you have chosen to discount it.

    Not only that, you have attempted the most ridiculous strawman argument that has ever been seen on the internet. Accusing those of us who are horrified by this cruelty to animals as being somehow not concerned with abused children is the most illogical, nonsensical thing I’ve ever read.

    “I’m not trying to downplay the incident.” Of course you are! Admit it. You do not find animal abuse to be the deep evil that it is. You and your husband are dishonest moral cowards. Shame on you both.

  141. Liz Davis says:

    To the author-

    I hope you’re still reading these comments. As you can see, you’re in the minority here with your crazy and not well thought out opinions. I am not a vegan, nor do I ever plan to become vegan. I believe in the humane treatment of all animals – from life until death. I find your thoughts and opinions shocking and unresearched. Don’t you understand that the taping had to be done to collect hard evidence to bring these god awful people to justice? Unfortunately, this sort of animal abuse is seen as a misdemeanor.. not a felony. For child abuse, people can be sentenced for years (as they should), for animal abuse, perps are often given a small fine, maybe a few days in jail and mostly just a slap on the wrist. You tell me how that’s justice for animals who cannot defend themselves. I highly suggest you do a little more research into this matter before you go writing an article that really has no foundation to be taken seriously. I feel at this point, God must be frowning upon you for trying to raise suspicion about folks just trying to protect animals, vegan or not.

  142. jgav says:

    WHAT is this person smoking?? this is quite possibly the most ridiculous article i have ever almost finished reading….flat out animal abuse to promote a vegan diet….you have got to be kidding…how could anyone view those video’s and come to that conclusion?…and than be ignorant enough to put words to it…..

  143. LaL says:

    Excuse me? No infrastructure for crimes against people? What about whole departments like, uh, social services, childrens courts, child support enforcement… and whatever you call all the agencies in your state, not to mention federal agencies? The fact is that people are uniformly opposed to crimes against children, and the laws, the infrastructure, society, etc. all deplore these crimes, which is why entire agencies exist to combat them. If I hear of a sickening case of child abuse or murder, I am saddened and disgusted but confident that everyone else feels as I do. I also am confident that law enforcement and the courts are doing the best that they can; everyone is united against the bad guy, unlike the Conklin Farms where one guy mouths off nonsense and 150 police officers show up to protect the offending business (and no protesters show up). Have you ever seen that happen with a child abuser?

    With this kind of animal abuse, I have no confidence in the will of law enforcement and the courts to prosecute this case. The support for the (apparently well-connected and influential) farm owner by agencies such as yours puts a lot of pressure on law enforcement, and the only voice for the victims are non-profit agencies and the outraged public.

    As far as blogs and media attention, have you ever heard of Nancy Grace? Or famous cases like Polly Klaas, Natalie Holloway, Caylee Anthony… your husband is not correct about media attention in cases involving people.

  144. LaL says:

    You brought up the topic of child abuse. Why didn’t you follow that topic and discuss the relationship between animal abuse and violent crime, including child abuse?

    Also, are you opposed to undercover investigations involving other crimes, like illegal drug sales, prostitution, child sex trades, gun trafficking, illegal gang activities and human trafficking… and what about employees who are abused or put in harm’s way by the employer? Should the investigator march up to the boss and say, “Hey, you are violating the law!”? That would certainly be effective.

  145. Vivian says:

    A few years ago, I was visiting someone who was working at a family owned dairy farm in western ND. He was working alone so I helped him get the cows in for milking. He said he had something to show me and we walked to an old small out building. Inside was a calf maybe 5 or 6 months old. There was no light in the bulding, it stood with its head down in a small enclosure. It did not look up or move. Although, it was old enough to graze, all it was being feed was milk and mash. This was to keep the meat tender for the famiy’s consumption. It was one of the most pitiful sights I have ever seen. It still haunts me today. Whether family or factory, I know that humane treatment isn’t a consideration as animals are viewed as food and nothing more.

  146. Michael Kelly says:

    It is very interesting and instructive to see how everyone reacts to animal abuse, and in the process savages each other while expressing outrage. I note that Billie Joe Gregg has turned himself in and faces 12 counts of Animal Abuse. I wonder what the outcome of that will be. I know if I were a Dairy Farmer in the area I would attend each day of Trial, and take pictures of everyone showing up outside. Of course, this assumes that Dairy Farmer’s have the luxury of attending Trials of such social flotsam. I would also be very interested in finding out who represents him at Trial, whether the Public Defender’s office, or some “Private Counsel”. I did not watch the Video nor do I plan on it. I’ve seen quite enough after viewing what our Servicemen saw when they found the Extermination Camps in Germany during World War II. This is called the “Holocaust”. Viewing the photographs might help one develop a Scale of Reaction to Abuse. This matter could have been handled the same day by reporting the first instance(s) of Abuse to the Conklin’s, and if they didn’t fire Billie Joe, then by calling local Law Enforcement and showing them the Videos. Letting four weeks lapse before showing the videos smells of “doctoring” to me, not of cattle but of videos.
    The whole thing has a John Wilkes Booth feel to it. I will be watching!

  147. Ann says:

    Silly person, there ARE organizations and therefore activist against child abuse. In fact, many of the animal welfare organizations in the USA also cover child welfare. You should not be publishing articles without being aware of the facts. When your husband asked you that, why didn’t you have a rational response about how we cannot spy on people in there homes since it’s against the constitution. There are many distinctions between preventing the torture of completely speechless and helpless animals and seeing the signs of child abuse and taking action there. Farming is an industry and business subject to public awareness, raising a family in the privacy of one’s own home is not. Where children are involved, it requires the intervention of people like neighbors and teachers who are aware, care, and are not afraid of possibly making enemies with the parental figures. THINK a little before publishing articles.

  148. maureen says:

    You are only trying to take heat off the OBVIOUS,you would like to derail the attention off the gross abuse of animals and make it seem as though we as a nation do not care about child abuse. But then of course you did not mention that downed cows are pushed by a fork lift into the slaughter houses nor did you mention the puss filled excrement in our food, or leaving an animal languish in pain until it bleeds out or gives up and dies for your table.I believe I am capable of speaking for a lot of America when I can say WE ARE TIRED OF IT ALL. We are tired of issues being swept under the rugs or pockets being lined to diminish the TRUTH. So the next time you write an article GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT and stop taking the heat off of RELEVANT issues. Please do not try to be a POLITICIAN you are to TRANSPARENT.

  149. Marcia Mueller says:

    So are you saying that since children can also be abused we should not try to stop the abuse of animals? This is such an old ploy, similar to the lament that as long as abortion is condoned, we should not waste time fighting the other evils in the world.

    It does not matter that Mercy for Animals advocates veganism. That is the logical conclusion for a lot of people who want to reduce all violence. What does matter is that are are people, like the ones at the Conklin Dairy Farm, that are capable of abusing animals and that many of them are still getting by with it.

    Stopping the abuse of animals is enough on its own merits. We do not need to drag in children to muddy the waters or to condone continued abuse of nonhuman animals. By the way, people are also fighting child abuse.

  150. Elizabeth WIlkinson says:

    Your logic is faulty, your motivation suspect, and your heart is absent. You are obviously a tool for the industry. Open your heart and open your mind. Your argument is old, tired, and wrong. Many of the same social and economic forces that drive animal cruelty drive child abuse. To say that if someone speaks out against torturing animals means that person doesn’t care about child abuse is fallacious and pernicious. That either/or argument is old and tired and the first grasp of the not-very-bright. Shame on you. It’s clear who’s buttering your bread.

  151. jill says:

    Now that all the fury has died down from the
    anmal abuse at Conklin Dairy Farms, I would like
    to know who’s buying their milk. I hope the
    aren’t actually finding someone to purchase it.
    Can anyone answer? Is the milk leaving the farm?
    Where’s it going? I’d really like to know.

  152. Mary Johnson says:

    I read Susan’s report concerning Conklin Dairy Farm and the atrocities that were uncovered there by Mercy for Animals. I’m not sure how much Susan knows about factory farming, but Conklin is the “tip of the iceberg”. Even if you don’t like pigs, cows and chickens, the way that they are treated is truly horrific. Chickens live their entire lives in tiny crates that are 8 inches by 8 inches, and then they are disposed of. Anyone who thinks that is kind and humane treatment truly is out of touch with reality! Pigs are more intelligent than dogs but some live their lives in “gestation” crates. Milk cows on factory farms aren’t milked in the morning turned out to enjoy the sunshine during the day and then brought back into the barn at night to be milked. These cows spend their entire lives in stalls ready to give their milk for us to put on our cereal. They don’t enjoy a blade of grass day in and day out. I applaud Mercy for Animals and similar organizations that are ready and willing to shine a light on the horrors of factory farming. Anytime someone goes undercover, the abuse is apparent. No one in their right mind is going to beat a calf if there is a video camera rolling. I have proudly made multiple calls to legislators calling for Conklin Dairy Farm to be shut down. Unfortunately, there are hundreds more just like Conklin. I have been calling Conklin for over a month and can’t seem to get through. I’m certainly not surprised because when people get caught with their “pants down”, then they usually are ‘missing in action”. By the way, Susan, how many factory farms have you visited and how many days have you spent there? I know you are a “farm” girl but there is a difference between a family farm and a factory farm. Also, please don’t insult me by asking idiotic questions concerning the outrage over child abuse. Of course I am outraged at child abuse, but the two are NOT mutually exclusive. You can be outraged by the abuse of children AND the abuse of animals. I hope that you continue to report on ALL abuse but please educate yourself BEFORE you write a story such as the one you wrote about Conklin. It was truly pathetic. By the way, since the Conklin horror story broke, I have donated to Mercy for Animals twice! Sometimes bad publicity is better than no publicity at all and I think people are realizing that the way farm animals are abused has become the “norm”. Also, I believe that Susan is “biased” since she gets a paycheck from the dairy industry. It would probably be upsetting to Susan if the diary industry was held accountable. She might have to find another way to make a living! God bless the animals because they certainly need His blessing.

  153. Mary Johnson says:

    I have finally been able to leave a message for the Conklin’s on their answering maching. It took over a month to get through! I asked Gary Conklin to call me back and tell me what companies buy his products because I want to boycott those companies. I called Kroger when this abuse story broke, and I was told that they DO NOT buy from Conklin. Also, Ms. Susan Crowell is paid by the dairy and farm industry. That is probably why she puts a “spin” on the Conklin abuse. She is biased and needs to feed herself and her family so I’m sure she doesn’t want to “step on toes”. Truly pathetic, in my opinion. Inhumane treatment of animals should lead to heavy fines and jail time. Seems simple to me.

  154. July 6, 2010 update:
    A Union County Grand Jury has cleared Gary Conklin, owner of Conklin Farms in Plain City and others, of allegations of animal abuse.

    http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/conklin-dairy-farm-no-additional-charges/15283.html

  155. Vinca6 says:

    I just counldn’t read all the responses here, but most of them were thoughtful and well informed, a variety of opinions. I know that not all farmers are abusive to their animals. However, it is necessary to be an impartial bystander in order to accumualate the evidence needed to build a case. If the MFA filmer had stepped in immediately, he/ she would not have had the access he/she needed to create the evidence he/she did. Law requires ridiculous amounts of evidence to substantiate an investigation, especially when there are generations of families involved who populate the towns that make up the related law enforcement and farm families.

  156. rebecca says:

    I grew up on a dairy farm and represented the dairy industry as a spokesperson. I understand and do not support the agenda of the group that released the edited footage. However there is NO excuse and NO justification for the behavior of these farm workers. You don’t take crowbars to animals’ heads or throw young animals on the ground then step on their heads. “I have seen the enemy and he is us.” The good farmers unfortunately will pay the price for the few who abuse the privilege and responsibility of animal caretakers. It’s up to the agricultural community to say no to this behavior and not defend it. Even one bad apple can affect all; zero tolerance needs to be applied.

  157. Allison, DVM says:

    This entire thing is disgusting. I hope that this kid in the video get fully prosecuted. I cannot believe that this author is defending the practices, and that we tolerate child abuse. This is unacceptable. And why I do not eat red meat, and well I guess the next step is dairy….

  158. Crunchy says:

    Yep, Conklin won’t face charges – how despicable! Just goes to show that nothing is ever going to change in this pathetic industry.

    Boycott, Boycott, Boycott! Maybe once people stop buying their products (not to mention the garbage presented in this ‘article’) producers will get the message and clean up their act.

    By the way, this farm receives over $10K in taxpayer subsidies every year. If they aren’t capable of monitoring their employees and ensuring that their animals aren’t heinously abused, then they don’t deserve to be collecting government welfare. Conklin family and Ms. Crowell: you all make me sick to my stomach. Stop abusing animals and the system.

  159. sua says:

    Susan clearly has no understanding of abuse issues or she would know that child abuse so very often begins with animal abuse and goes on to other violent crimes.

  160. Kathy says:

    Thank you very much for your article Sue, you did a great job. It is terrible how these animal/human hate groups such as Mercy for Animals and HSUS have to stoop so low as to set up a poor farmer just to get their extremist agenda in the spot light and make those who are not familiar with farm life believe that the awful beatings shown by Mr.Gregg is business as usual. Thank you again Sue, you are a credit to the Farm and Dairy.

  161. DJ Allyn says:

    Blame the messenger?

    MFA did not abuse these animals, a few employees in the industry did. Now while MFA does apparently have an agenda, it does not detract from the fact that what you see in that video is NOT acceptable.

    I grew up on a dairy. At no time did we ever have the need to resort to this kind of brutality.

    The fact that the owner of Conklin escaped charges does not make him innocent. At the very least, he had to know — if not tolerate — the abuse that was going on there. I only hope that he takes this incident and implement some changes in how he treats his animals from now on.

  162. FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

    So now the dust has settled, the investigation complete, and the REAL facts are presented, as well as Conklins’ side of the story…What has it revealed??

    -Conklin was COMPLETELY unaware of these happenings, and was LIED to when he hired both Greggs and Smith…the video WAS cut/spliced/edited to make Conklin appear horrible…Conklin was cleared of ALL charges-competant vets stated what many of us true farmers know and have stated in this case(that cows MUST be made to get up for their own good-even if aggressive tactics must be used)

    -AND- JASON SMITH- (is this the same Jason Smith that made comments above???) the camera man for MFA ADMITTED TO TORTURING CATTLE HIMSELF!!!!!

    So how many of you holier-than-thou people who have made so many nasty comments about the Conklins will make an apology to them??? This family has had threats-even death threats- made against them and have been thru pure hell these past few weeks.

    One last thing..Smith was tragically NOT convicted..If I was Greggs lawyer, I would definatly point this out-why should his client-who was goaded into abusing cattle by Smith, who ALSO abused them-be prosecuted when Smith was set free-even when he ADMITTED doing this???(I AM NOT SAYING THAT THIS BEHAVIOR SHOULD BE EXCUSED)

    People need to stop jumping to conclusions until all sides are presented.THAT is what this article was written about…we now have the “other side” and it is completely different than MFA wanted you to believe. How many of you have the decency to apologize??? One of these days, maybe it will be YOU that has to go thru crap like this..think about that.

  163. Concerned says:

    “Conklin was cleared of ALL charges-competant vets stated what many of us true farmers know and have stated in this case(that cows MUST be made to get up for their own good-even if aggressive tactics must be used)”

    It’s 2010. I don’t see how kicking an animal in the head gets them to get up. These ppl need to come out of the dark ages. Show me ANYWHERE that kicking an animal in the head makes them get up as an accepted practice. Imbeciles. Just one imbecile covering for another imbecile. No wonder we cannot advance.

  164. JTF says:

    Get over yourself, PO’d farmer. The video speaks for itself and most decent people find it appaulling.

    If, as you claim, it is “standard industry practice” to kick a cow in the head to help it, then your industry need a MAJOR overhaul. It used to be “standard industry practice” to whip slaves and beat elephants to help them perform, but those industries have gone by the wayside since the public found those practices to be pretty sickening once they were exposed.

    I expect the Dairy industry will also self destruct due to your pitiful inability to self regulate.

  165. Dr. Rosset says:

    This is an intelligent article demanding answers that some of which we have now have the court case. Note that both the video person and the person doing the abusing lied on their job applications. Note that Mr. Conklin was cleared of all abuse charges and that the clip of him booting a cow into the up right position was edited in to make it appear he was with the other two abusers. Note the the undercover so called spy had actually pitchforked several cows which is far worse than booting a cow into standing. It is obvious that the general public has never worked with cows. When one is down it can die very quickly and you have to do what you can to get it to stand. Just a like a paramedics jolts a person back to life that is what must be done to get a cow to lift itself onto its feet. The views expressed here indicate that this country needs some serious education when it comes to farm animals. You people have been seriously misled by the animal rights zealots who want to bring an end to domesticated animals. As for vegans who eat no meat products you won’t be living very long as the human being needs B12 and several nutrients only found in meat. We already see irreversible organ damage in long term vegans. Farmers do not abuse their animals only the so called spies who never manage to get videos of abuse on a regular bases but must hire and bring in their own abusers and do the abusing themselves to inflame the public sentiment. This is what the Nazis did to inflame the public against their opposition. They showed staged videos to the public to enrage them against the own neighbors. This is exactly what the animal rights groups are doing not for the benefit of animals because there are animal welfare laws on the books now and we have used them to stop substandard care. But these people want to end all use of animals. This article is correct and should be published and all of you animal rights groups only show your lack of intelligence in trying to silence these questions. If you were serious about animal welfare you would want these questions answered. But instead you condemn the author. Shame on you.

  166. You're kidding, right? says:

    “Where is our outrage when abusers target our children?”

    THIS is an intelligent question that needs to be answered??? You’ve got to be kidding me!! If Dr. Rosset, Susan and her husband are not aware that there IS outrage at child abusers, then they must be blind, deaf and most certainly dumb.

    But you are correct….this country needs some serious education when it comes to farm animals. And the more educated we become, the more we realize that farm animals are treated horribly and sadistically. And when the perpetrators are caught red handed, farmers not only refuse to be accountable but try to lay blame elsewhere and/or deflect attention…..just like the author of this article is doing.

    Nice try with the spin, doc, but epic fail. Thanks for playing though, we have some nice parting gifts for you ;)

  167. CatholicSchoolalumnus says:

    I guess Dr. Rosset has never seen a relative or friend who is obese and using my tax dollars i.e. Medicare or Medicaid, to pay for insulin,and/or blood pressure medicine. I never see any overweight vegetarians or vegans. Ever hear about the long life expendency of Seventh Day-Adventists? The live longer lives than average – Oh yes, they are vegetarians.

  168. Mary says:

    I am a nurse and a dairy farmer. For those who have questions about a vegetarian diet-yes there are concerns from the medical community about adequate nutrition. Vitamin B 12 comes from animals only. The Centers for Disease Control have documented severe irreversible birth defects in babies born to long term vegetarians. We also see early dementia in older persons who do not receive adequate B12. As a nurse I have given injections to people because they cannot get adequate B12. There are real challenges to achieving a healthy diet that is purely vegetarian.

    I would ask each person to consider how they are treating the others in these posts. I am saddened to hear of such mean spirited attacks when we should have a well reasoned discussion on how farmers care for animals and what is the best way for society to deal with a person who is so clearly a very ill man. Prison will not help him unless he receives appropriate care for his problems.

    The larger farms that are being villified by some writers very often can afford to provide even better care that our small farms. Cows on larger farms have sand or water beds to sleep on, live in climate controlled barns and even have the foot candles of light calculated and managed to optimum levels. With a narrow profit margin, yes dairying is a life style and a business, animals are well cared for because they do not produce without good care.

    Dairy animals are only given antibiotics when they need them because that would be an additional expense. The milk is tested nine times before it reaches the consumer, so you do not receive any milk with antiobiotics in it.

    Please lets focus on asking questions, listening carefully, and working to improve the situation.

  169. concerned says:

    I am just appaulled that anyone would think this is acceptable. I think being the owner you should have more responsibility and be held more accountable. I am certainly not buying anything that is connected to this farm. They need to wake up and know what their employees are doing. It is their livelihood, so maybe they should invest more intrest in how their livestock is being treated. No excuse for beating a calf like that, no excuse for any of this.

  170. OH says:

    “Proclaim to care” – shame on the author, you are a disgrace.

  171. Ohioian and Now Vegan says:

    Gregg just plead guilty and thankfully is on his way to prison. I wish they were taking Conklin and all the other factory farmers with him. This story pushed me to the edge and I am now a proud vegan. I haven’t eaten any animal flesh for 35 years and now will never drink milk or eat eggs or any dairy products for the rest of my life. There are tons of alternatives out there! Farmers will not receive one dime from me to support your disgusting “business”. Way to go…Mercy for Animals – job well done!

    By the way, I would do anything in my power to end human abuse too.

  172. Butch says:

    I am a Proud meat eating american for 45 years

  173. John says:

    Get over yourself, PO’d farmer. The video speaks for itself and most decent people find it appaulling.

    If, as you claim, it is “standard industry practice” to kick a cow in the head to help it, then your industry need a MAJOR overhaul. It used to be “standard industry practice” to whip slaves and beat elephants to help them perform, but those industries have gone by the wayside since the public found those practices to be pretty sickening once they were exposed.

    I expect the Dairy industry will also self destruct due to your pitiful inability to self regulate.

  174. Wayne says:

    This article is rediculous to say that they shouldn’t be looking after the animals care because there are children being abused. That is like the people who get pulled over for a traffic ticket and get mad at the police officer and tell him, ” aren’t there bank robbers and murderers for you to catch?”.
    Another fact is that many child abusers were animal abusers at one time. There was a big child abuse case in California several years ago and a friend of mine had gone to grade school with the perpetrators in that case. Even in grade school that guy would torture rabbits and other animals in front of the other kids at school.
    Ghandi said that you can judge the character of a nation by how it treats its animals. So you can judge the character of an industry that tries to defend it’s members who torture animals.

  175. bruce says:

    your article is a little stupid in my book.triing to defend these actions like your a defense attorny or something.triing to “shift blame” tricky.dont know what your deal is but triing to blame this on the vegatarians and there hidden adgenda.so what,maybe you should watch it again because i didnt see any promotion of diet.i saw unexcuseable abuse to animals.did gary even know? being they show him on film kicking one of these animals i’d say its a safe bet he did.

    • LCampbell says:

      Bruce, it is well known that the Vegans push the Animal Rights Agenda which calls for no animal ownership. One does have to question all the timing of the whole incident. The real abuser is hired only months before the MFA Undercover is hired, the video is released at the same time the Animal Rights (HSUS, Ohioans for Humane Farms) are pushing a signature drive.

      With only 1 short segment of Mr. Conklin and the backing of the State Vet who under Oath, we all know that Animal Rights people don’t have to take that oath in the court of Public Opinion, stated Mr. Conklin did nothing wrong. Additionally, MFA releases another video to attempt to force the Livestock Care Standards Board into thier demands, the whole thing just doesn’t sit right.

      Everyone has their thoughts and beliefs, looking from outside the box, it would appear that the whole thing was staged to generate support for the ballot initive.

      • Bobby Calf says:

        I am vegan and I do not appreciate your comments. We are not all like you imply. Perhaps you might see it differently if you understood why a vegetarian for example, is a hypocrite.

  176. Kathleen says:

    I recently became a vegan because I found out about the routine, widespread cruelty to animals in the food industry. I will never go back to meat, dairy, or eggs again. If changes are made and the industry reforms, it has still lost me as a consumer for life.

    Kathleen

    • FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

      WE farmers dont give a crap what you eat…You will NOT force ANY of your opinions on us-nor have you ANY right to tell others what they can or cant eat-PERIOD. The REAL truth is that farms animals ARE humanely treated . More children are abused that animals. The world is not perfect-there will always be murders, oppression, persecution, and at times there will be animals that truley are abused-no amount of laws will change that-however, farmers DO NOT mistreat their animals-it is a complete LIE perpetuated by the Animal Rights goons. The owner was cleared of charges-he was completely UNaware that the employees he hired were mistreating his animals to get footage for their deceitful, twisted video.

  177. Dana says:

    I’m not a vegan, and I eat meat, but I rarely think of where it comes from for a variety of reasons.

    Susan, to you personally: are you really saying that people aren’t concerned about the cruelties children suffer? I must be misinterpreting what you mean, because that sounds ridiculous. WHO IN THE WORLD WOULDN’T BE UPSET BY THESE THINGS?! Everyone is entitled to support, or to not support and even fight against, whatever they want. I think people are probably capable of being passionate about more than one thing at a time, but realistically, they can’t fight all the battles all at once. Also, I’m pretty sure the people who are members of organizations that focus on cruelty to children are probably just as passionate as the people fighting for animals. Don’t be dense.

    Clearly there is some sort of feud between “farmers” and “vegans”. So, if I’m understanding this correctly from a glimpse as I try to forget the video I just saw with these pitiful cows (their eyes always make me weep anyway, who could do that?!), you believe that the “vegans” are sensationalizing this video in an attempt to try to force people into adopting a vegan lifestyle? I’m also catching a wiff of some sort of paranoid idea that the farmhand might have even possible been a member of the “vegan” faction? WOW. Get a grip, lady! While I agree that the “vegans” might be a little over the top, and I’m somewhat annoyed by the bleeding heart thing, that’s a pretty strong and delusional accusation!

    Let’s face it, the cruelty I saw, no matter how edited, how long it was edited, or when who where or what happened, was totally mortifying. Knowing that people are capable of that makes me want to deny God. Sure, should they have blown the whistle ASAP, yes. But where WAS the owner??? I mean, someone like that surely must have shown some signs to someone that he was off! Take responsibility and have some accountability!

  178. Bobby Calf says:

    When I first viewed this video, my thought was “why didn’t the person filming try and stop this”. Having experience in animal welfare, I know that the law will not prosecute unless a videotape has enough ‘evidence of cruelty’.

    For example, if the undercover employee only delivered the one scene of the baby calf been abused, tragic as it is, the law will say they need more evidence as it could have been a one-off incident. The law has a funny way of working. So while Susan queries why the undercover person filmed it over a few weeks and then took time to edit, you must understand the system. I assure you, the undercover employee would have notified authorities making them aware, and advising that a video would be available. Please believe me, if the video is not correctly compiled, it can be dismissed as here say, or doctored. I think it is wrong of Susan to assume that the video was kind of a setup though. Why would anyone put an animal through that hell, just for a hidden agenda.

    This video has attracted worldwide attention. Thank god that Billy Joe Gregg (loser from hell) has been prosecuted. The owner, Gary Conklin is also seen on video abusing too, but got off scott free.

    I just wish they could now prosecute the majority of people at slaughterhouses. They attract the worst kind of person to work there.

  179. Karen McKechnie says:

    Excuse me. Who really cares who wrote the article? The point is the actions of these disgusting people are brought to light. How dare you defend this farm and try to make excuses for this! I am ready to boycott all Conklin Farms products and I am not a vegan! And as far as child abuse is concerned, it’s all in the same ballpark-protecting those who can not speak for themselves! I am most certainly an advocate for stopping child abuse as well as stopping animal abuse. This article disgusts me. You should be ashamed of yourself for even writing this!

  180. Karen McKechnie says:

    And furthermore, if you anything about animal welfare you would know that the laws protecting children are much stiffer than the laws protecting animals. If a child is being abused and someone reports it, it is investigated seriously. If a report about animal abuse comes to surface, usually nothing is done about it without hard evidence. Without these undercover videos the majority of Americans would know absolutely nothing about it (including law enforcement) and more than likely nothing will be done about it. So you go ahead with your questions on the motives of this group-to what purpose? All that mnatters is that this is being brought to light. If these workers have nothing to hide in an undercover video than there is nothing to worry about. What are they trying to hide? So let’s protect the rights of these workers and ignore the animals’ plight because an animal welfare group decided to take action, whatever their motives may be? Both animal and child abuse is grotesque and I hope more undercover videos surface so drastic measures can be taken, it doesn’t matter who video recorded it and why! Furthermore, for all you dolts who think the video-recorder is more at fault for standing by and doing nothing-how do you think justice is better served? By doing something for a handful of animals right then, or making headway for many more animals in the long run by releasing the video as it was done? Unfortunately, sometimes you do have to stand by and watch to get proper evidence in order to help the greater good. If it wasn’t done in this fashion this person would be stopped right then, but then he would be free to cvontinue to do it countless more times in the future with noithing to stop him. At least now he is fired and prevented from doing this in the future, something that more than likely wouldn’t have happened if the video recorder had stopped it right then. People, wake up! You have to look to the greater goal and purpose and what will do the most good in the long run. And now, more animals will suffer because of these idiots who are going to ban these undercover videos. It’s a sad day for animal welfare when that happens, but then you won’t care because then you can live in ignorant bliss while countless animlas suffer.

  181. John Harris says:

    Susan:
    Well it’s April 1st 2011. I felt the need to come and read your article again to see if time helped your comments achieve some justification. It doesn’t.

    Your obviously pro factory. Your poor attempt to tie the perp to MFA is quite sad. And certainly the “where are they when our children are abused” reasoning is close to pathetic. I’m quite sure that if I or anyone else had the opportunity to film/catch/club some guy who put his child in the dryer we would. But thats pretty hard to predict or pinpoint isn’t it? Once this country gets to the point where we have factory farms dedicated to abusing children, (and we will) I’m sure some brave soul will step up to the plate and film it and turn the B******S in. We did that in the 30′s and 40′s for abusive orphanages / mental institutions and we do that today.

    Let’s have a quick look at whats happening in Iowa and Florida where Republican lawmakers are passing bills making it a crime to photograph farms or puppy mills without the owners permission. Those good old corporate wingtip licking repubs wouldn’t want those poor suffering factory farm owners to miss one single dollar of their income just because they have no concept of appropriate animal care / husbandry now would they? Get those dang hippies outta here, wouldn’t want them filming somthing they don’t need to know about.

    I wonder if they would pass the same bill for child abuse farms assuming there was corporate dollars involved?

    If I find that you or your farm or any of the distribution food stream associated with you are involved in these kinds of actions. I make it a pretty sharp point to NOT buy your products again. But of course, I can’t do that if theres no record can I?

  182. Scotland, UK says:

    ….When I went home from work last week and shared the emerging story to my husband, however, he found a way to put it in perspective in a new way…..

    So your saying there is a good perpective to this animal abuse???? Well thank the lord for your ‘caring’ husband to ease your emotional distress at this video!!! We are all aware child abuse goes on and its disgusting,but we are talking about animal abuse here, why the sidestep? I dont get it! I just seen a baby cow being stamped on..however its ok now,and iv dismissed how awful and upsetting this is because there’s child abuse in the world!! Thats basically what your getting at…that IS NOT humane logic to me!!
    Sorry if this post spams anyone as its nearly a year since but felt the need to comment on this, i clicked on the video, watched not even 20 secs of it, felt violontly sick, was in tears, and 3 days later, cannot get thos 20secs out of my head, there imprinted there!! Im from Scotland, uk, luckily our laws are a bit tougher here, a farmer was fined apprx £3000 because he didnt give his cows enough daylight! Tougher laws are needed in the states, these animals need a voice…they do not have one of their own. Il never get over this shocking video, all i can do is be a good person, treat my pets and other animals with love and care and hope to high hell that karma truly exists for any vile creature that partakes in animal abuse. (for the record, i would also wish this upon child abusers but this is about ANIMAL ABUSE AWARENESS!)

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