A reader of this blog writes:
I read your blog every day and while I haven't as yet commented on any posts I am always interested in what you have to say. My daughter is a sophomore at The Ohio State University and is majoring in animal science. This is an email she sent me. I hope that you will read this and investigate this story. If what Mercy for Animals did to this dairy farm family is true, I am outraged! I told my daughter that this dairy farm could not stay in business for 80 years if they treated their animals the way you see them treated on this horrible video. I do not for a minute believe it and yet so many people will look at the video and they WILL believe it. Please help. Thank you for your time.
Feeling a little uneasy, I scrolled down to find an email allegedly written by Mariette C. Benage, Coordinator, Student Success, Department of Animal Sciences at Ohio State University. The email reads:
Here is a story that I just learned about after class today. I'm passing it along to you as an example of both direct pressure and animal activist techniques that you, as young adults, need to be aware of. My personal opinions about this are unprintable!
Ryan Conklin, a senior in our department, has asked me to put out this email to you to make you aware of a situation involving his family farm in Plain City. At 11:00 today there will be a news conference that will show terribly graphic footage their animals being mis-treated on their dairy farm. Ryan told me that a man was hired to work on their dairy last month that turned out to be an under-cover investigator for a group called Mercy For Animals, an affiliate-I believe-of HSUS. Ryan told me that this man from Mercy For Animals coordinated the video footage with another person working at the dairy, and he is the one seen causing the abuse on the video. The person recording the footage is the Mercy For Animals advocate, and he quit his position at the dairy on Sunday. The young man seen in the video was released of his duties at 6 am this morning.
I know some of you in the department know Ryan and his family very well, and I can tell you that they are very honorable people and that they would NEVER condone any of these actions. I believe they’ve been in the dairy business for close to 80 years, and they are certainly people that genuinely care about the well-being of their animals. This appears to be a trap that HSUS has set up to gain voter support in the state at the expense of a well-known dairy. This is a very difficult time for the family, and I know Ryan would appreciate any support that we can offer.
For those of you that are interested, here is the link to the video: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/ohdairy/
I will warn you…it’s not easy to see.
Now I was beginning to really feel uneasy.
You see, here was an employee of Ohio State University writing to students about an explosive and legally actionable issue, and suggesting to them that there was a smear campaign being waged against an "honorable" family farm that had never abused animals.
And yet this Ohio State University employee had quite obviously not taken a minute's time to actually investigate the situation!
"Who are you going to believe, me who has not bothered to investigage anything at all, or your lying eyes," she seems to be asking.
Wow! The stupidity of this email was dizzying.
Bracing myself, I went to the video tape.
When it comes to abuse, I thought I had seen it all. Apparently not.
I wrote back to the regular reader of this blog, trying to measure my words as carefully as possible.
How could anyone see this video tape and frame the story as if the dairy operator was the victim? My mind boggled:
Sorry, but this one does not pass the smell test and I will be going in the opposite direction.
I cannot speak to what the farm management knew or did not know (a court will decide that), but a couple of points need to be made here:
- No one is going to voluntarily appear in a video showing this kind of abuse. The suggestion that this was a put-up-job is complete nonsense. What is shown in the video is extreme, shocking and totally unnecessary violence to animals, the kind that gets you a prison sentence in a place where your teeth are pounded out with a bar, and your assh*l* is stretched by your bunk mate. No one signs up for that tour. No one. Ever.
- This is not just one person doing violence, and this video tape was not shot in one day. This video tape shows at least two people doing criminal violence to animals, and the change in clothing makes clear it was shot over at least six or seven days.
- If farm management did not know what was going on here, they are criminally negligent. The employees shown here are overt sadists and sick twisted souls, and this fact would have been self-evident over even a brief period of time. The fact that this farm hired these people and retained them, speaks to negligent omission at best, and criminal comission at worst. They better get a damn good defense lawyer and throw the people on the video tape under the bus!
I do not feel sorry for this farm<; I feel sorry for these cows and the honest and hard-working dairy industry of Ohio which has been tarred by this horror. You want me to defend this farm and suggest Mercy for Animals or HSUS (allegedly, by inference and suggestion) put up some kind of fabrication? Nope. Sorry, but I am not blind or stupid. Very clearly, the managers, owners and administrators of this dairy, however, are. It is a horror. It is a sadness. And YES, someone needs to go to jail.
Put me on the jury and I assure you they will.
Any question of where I stand?
Just because I stand for farmers, do not salute every inanity of the animal rights community, and will not wink at the direct mail pettifoggery of the Humane Society of the U.S., does NOT mean I will ever defend true animal abuse.
Put me on the jury, and make me jury foreman, and I will see to it that the men in this video get the electric chair if that is at all possible.
Sadly, however, it is not.
You see, one of the people on this video tape has already been arrested.
But guess what?
The people beating and stabbing these poor cows and calfs are only going to be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750.
If an animal abuse case ever cried out for criminal prosecution with real jail time, this is it.
But in Ohio, farm animals apparently have no real protection even from this kind of wanton and horrific cruelty.
Should that change? Very clearly, YES.