Thursday, July 8, 2010

Farm Sanctuary Responds to Clearing of Ohio Dairy Farm Owner of Criminal Charges

Farm Sanctuary President and Co-founder Gene Baur: “It is nothing short of a dereliction of duty for a professional trained to provide medical care to animals to support practices such as kicking them and to say that it is to the benefit of the animals.”

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – July 8, 2010 – On Monday, an Ohio grand jury decided to clear Gary Conklin, owner of Conklin Dairy Cattle Sales LLC, of criminal charges in connection with the abuse of cows on his farm. In a disturbing video distributed worldwide in May, Mr. Conklin is shown kicking a “downed” cow too weak to stand by herself. According to a statement given to the media by the prosecutor in the case, four large animal veterinarians told law enforcement officials that “delivering a sharp blow” to a sick or weak animal is necessary in order to avoid risk of “injury and death” and is standard practice in the dairy industry as an “entirely appropriate” means to get non-ambulatory animals to move.

Today, Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, issued the following statement in response to the clearing of Gary Conklin of criminal charges:

“The involvement of experts in excusing cruelty to animals on the grounds that it is ‘standard practice’ in the industry is unconscionable. With the eyes of the world watching, this case represented an important opportunity to send a strong message of compassion. It is unfortunate that the four veterinarians called to testify in the Conklin Dairy case sided with commercial interests, instead of denouncing a clear example of abuse. The sordid notion of ‘standard practice’ is commonly used to justify cruelty in an industry where bad has become normal.

“There are humane ways to address this issue, but when animals are viewed as unfeeling commodities, the time and effort required to handle a downed cow in an appropriate manner is often set aside in favor of expediency at the expense of the animal’s welfare.

“I’m reminded of a quote by Ruth Harrison, author of Animal Machines: ‘If one person is unkind to an animal it is considered cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to a lot of animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is defended. And once large sums of money are involved it will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.’

Farm Sanctuary Offered to Accept Victims of Conklin Dairy

Soon after the video came to light, Farm Sanctuary reached out to the Union County Humane Society, one of the agencies handling the investigation, with an offer to accept and provide shelter for any animals confiscated during the investigation. Unfortunately, the investigation did not result in the seizure of any animals. Baur added, “It is heartbreaking that to date not a single mistreated cow has been given a second chance at a life free from fear and pain.”

If you would like to speak with Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, please contact Meredith Turner at 646-369-6212 or

About Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. Additional information can be found at or by calling 607-583-2225.
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With the obvious abuse caught on camera for the world to see, this judge turned a blind eye to the abuse and cleared the owner of criminal charges.  Obviously the judge believes that kicking a beating a defenseless animal into submission is standard practice.  And whatever the industry claims is "standard practice", it is allowed to do.  What a crock!  I would love to make up my own rules too.  I have many words to describe this travesty, but I like to keep my blog PG.

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