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

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Meredith Turner, Farm Sanctuary, 646-369-6212, mturner@farmsanctuary.org

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. - 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
mturner@farmsanctuary.org.

###

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.

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