The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Meredith Turner, Farm Sanctuary, 646-369-6212,

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.”


On Monday, an Ohio
grand jury decided to clear Gary Conklin, owner of Conklin Dairy Cattle
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
by the prosecutor in the case, four large animal veterinarians told law
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
president and co-founder of Farm
the nation's leading farm animal protection organization, issued the
following statement in response to the clearing of Gary Conklin of

"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
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
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
a lot of people are unkind to a lot of animals, especially in the name
commerce, the cruelty is defended. And once large sums of money are
involved it
will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.'

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
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

Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy.