This week, the animal protection group Mercy For Animals released a heart-wrenching undercover video from Conklin Dairy, located in Union County, Ohio, near Columbus. This disturbing footage shows workers brutally beating cows with crowbars, stabbing them with pitchforks, breaking their tails, and violently punching, throwing and kicking young calves. Workers then brag about torturing the helpless animals. In response, Farm Sanctuary issued a press statement calling for better farm animal protection laws, and we contacted local authorities to offer rehabilitative care and lifelong shelter for animals in need from Conklin's farm.
At Farm Sanctuary, we are not strangers to confronting extreme animal abuse, and indeed, have witnessed it firsthand, and have provided rescue and refuge for thousands of abused farm animals. This utterly unconscionable behavior is a logical extension of an industry attitude which sees animals as mere units of production, rather than as feeling, sentient individuals. In the animal agriculture industry, bad has become normal. On factory farms, animals are subject to unspeakable cruelty every single day. In battery cages, gestation crates and veal crates, chickens, pigs, and calves endure confinement so extreme that they cannot stand up, turn around, stretch their limbs, or lie down comfortably. Unable to exercise their most basic natural behaviors, these animals exhibit signs of extreme psychological distress. This daily reality for millions of farm animals across the nation is rarely covered on the nightly news. There, cruelty is just a way of doing business.
This latest news about the Conklin farm is escalating by the hour as people continue to express outrage at the malicious and sadistic acts caught on video. So far, one alleged perpetrator has been arrested and charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty, but Ohio law prevents these charges from being felony counts. Even Rocky Nelson, the Sheriff of Union County called these acts "vile and disgusting." He stated in a Columbus Dispatch story covering the arrest, "If there was a way this could be a felony charge, I would push for that," Unfortunately, Ohio has some of the weakest animal cruelty laws in the nation. Not long ago, an Ohio court acquitted a factory farmer who was captured hanging sick pigs execution-style from a tractor, a verdict that was considered a victory for agribusiness.
If you are disturbed by the sadistic violence exhibited in this video of Conklin Dairy Farm, there is something you can do. Right now, Farm Sanctuary is working with concerned citizens across the state of Ohio to collect signatures to get a sweeping farm animal welfare initiative on the November ballot. If passed, this initiative would end the most egregious farming practices and send a message to agribusiness that whether it's considered "standard practice" or a sadistic act of abuse, cruelty is cruelty and won't be tolerated. Learn how you can get involved now.