Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Justice Would Be Swift and Done With a Sword

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:

Dear Students,

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:

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.



R said...

Thank you for posting this video. I have reached out to Minerva Cheese, a dairy in Ohio that was purchasing Conklin milk to confirm that they have severed ties with this farm. Abuse like this has a ripple effect on the dwindling number of small and independent farmers around the country who are lumped together with the wretches shown here.

You are a fine writer and reporter. May I ask that you stay on top of this story and continue to update us on any developments?

I hate to see any farm go out of business as that usually means land grabs by developers but this is one dairy that deserves to go.

HurricaneDeck said...

Wow. If they do that to the cows, it makes me wonder what they do to their kids, wife, and pets at home. That dairy should be put out of business for good - how could one NOT notice the marks of abuse on their animals? I could only watch a few seconds of the film - the rest just turns my stomach.

Isaac said...

I can only assume that when you say, "My justice would be swift and done with a sword" You mean "...done with a two handed Great Sword from Cold Steel"...?

PBurns said...

Of course! Accept no substitutes!

Cuts pigs in half with one slice. Perfect tool for the job.

But be advised: I will NOT be wearing a tie!


Gina Spadafori said...

From the news story:

"The wide attention this story has received in the media and on the internet has caused a considerable strain on the Sheriff's Department's resources, according to Chief Morgan. 'We've got our day to day operations to take care of, and this has been a drain on our manpower."

Oh geez, cry me a river. So sorry you were forced by all that pesky outrage to enforce the law.

S said...

My husbands family comes from a long line of dairy farmers... who respect the land, and the animals that they work with. I had avoided watching this video... but I watched it on your site and was nauseous. How could anyone treat a poor cow like that, the calves. It makes me so sad and want to cry that people can be so horribly cruel.

You are absolutely right that when this happens it paints all farmers with the same broad brush and that is so unfair. I know many farmers who would be disgusted by this.

It just makes me want to cry not for these disgusting people but for the farmers who are all tarnished and those poor poor cows....

Bjarne´s aquarium blogg said...

I have seen worse cruelty to farm animal.But never seen it done so

an American in Copenhagen said...

Holy crap. That was awful.

Epona's Chosen said...

I want to thank you for bringing this to the public's attention to how Ohio State is handling or not handling the situation. I didn't realize we have both a student and an instructor involved in this situation. Do you have suggestions for contacting Ohio State with our concerns? As a teacher, I don't feel I can recommend a university to my students if it condones animal abuse.

PBurns said...

Ohio State is NOT condoning animal abuse.

Let's be clear. All that has gone on here is a single person, who was not thinking too clearly and who sent out an email a little too fast about something she knew nothing about while swallowing a lot of nonsense hook, line and sinker.

We've all done it at least once.

Let us let people make mistakes.

Name and shame is the curative here. Hopefully this will be a case of "once burned, twice shy."

That said, I wanted to put the entire parade out on the street, because I think it is instructional. Notice how quickly people discoutned WHAT THEY COULD SEE for a story board that made no sense.

Guess what folks? There really ARE animal abusers out there.

The boy who cried wolf was RIGHT once, and once was all it took.

Those of us who love America's farmers need to urge them to stand up, speak up and denounce this kind of savagery. This is HORRIFIC AND ABNORMAL. This is NOT farming.

Farming ain't for sissies, but the Marquis de Sade is not resident on any farm that I know of.

Stand for farms.

Stand for dogs.

Stand for hunting.

Stand for wildlife.

Stand for the land.

But never be confused.

Never stand for evil.


Viatecio said...

A lot of the animal agribusinesses in Ohio have already stepped up to denounce the actions seen on the video. What's even better is that the bran-spanking-new Livestock Care Standards Board has spoken out against it too.

According to an article in the Dispatch today, Conklin himself is alleged to be one of the men in the video. This is the article in the paper from this morning, but there have been at least one significant update to the story since then.

Whether or not this was staged, it is certainly unacceptable. It is simply ghastly for anyone to do this intentionally to set up a farm for destruction through public fire, and likewise as you said, it is criminally negligent for the farm owners to see the damage done to his cows and still maintain these people as employees. YET...something like this can happen and the guy get immediate court time, while puppy millers (see Heather's most recent post) don't even have to pay a fine for keeping dogs in the condition they do? Despicable.

And best of luck to your reader's daughter, by the way. The AnSci program is certainly a great one to get into.

Seahorse said...

I'm a coward, and so far I have not watched this, though I'd read about it before this post (good on you, Patrick for putting this up).

I think the possible sentencing would be 90 days and $750.00 per offense. That would add up, although it would never even the score. The problem with the human race is some of the people in it.


Bjarne´s aquarium blogg said...

"Also today, the man who was the star of that video appeared in court for the first time, and told the judge he is a wounded Army veteran of the war in Iraq and is about to take his exam to become an Ohio police officer.
(from The Columbus Ditchpatch)

"Billy Joe" as a oficer Police officer....ugh


Excellent scripts for horror movies, do not understand the meaning.
How many dollars of cost has a calf from cow meat breeding? Surely they paid for it.
Do not eat animals abused in this way, but often do not know the origin !:( I read an old article .....

Blessed are those who eat animals that eat grass.

It seems that video filming P.E.T.A
or other animal welfare organizations to make money ......


Sheila said...

I also haven't watched the video yet, but I did read the description on the website of origin of the despicable actions recorded in the video.

What I don't get (and maybe it's just me) is that you'd think the farmers would have security cameras set up in the barns and make sure that their cows are given the best care since the cows are THEIR LIVELYHOOD. Not everyone shares a love of animals, I understand that, but what business sense does it make to hurt the creatures that make you money? Could you imagine how fast someone would be fired at GM for smashing the robots that weld cars with a crowbar?

And then there's the fact that what these lowlifes are doing is just plain sadistic. The should all be watched carefully by the police to see if one of them turns out to be a serial killer...

sas said...

Thank you Mr. Burns for making it clear to Epona's Chosen that it is NOT The Ohio State University that is condoning animal abuse. OSU is a tremendous institution and I would recommend it highly to anyone. Viatecio - thank you for the plug for the animal science program. My daughter is quite happy in this major.

sas said...

Thank you Mr. Burns for making it clear to Epona's Chosen that it is NOT The Ohio State University that is condoning animal abuse. OSU is a tremendous institution and I would recommend it highly to anyone. Viatecio - thank you for the plug for the animal science program. My daughter is quite happy in this major.