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On September 24, 2010, Billy Joe Gregg, Jr., a worker at Conklin Dairy Farms caught on hidden camera during a Mercy For Animals investigation maliciously abusing cows and calves, pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
Gregg was sentenced to eight months in jail, ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, and is barred from contact with animals for three years. Gregg must also receive counseling through a program that specializes in treating individuals involved in animal abuse cases.
Gregg's arrest and conviction stem from chilling undercover footage recorded during a Mercy For Animals investigation earlier this year at Conklin Dairy Farms in Plain City, Ohio.
During a four-week investigation in April and May, MFA's investigator documented farm workers:
After viewing the footage, Dr. Bernard Rollin, Distinguished Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, stated: ""This is probably the most gratuitous, sustained, sadistic animal abuse I have ever seen. The video depicts calculated, deliberate cruelty, based not on momentary rage but on taking pleasure through causing pain to cows and calves who are defenseless.""
Sadly, cruelty to farmed animals in Ohio – no matter how egregious – is classified as a mere misdemeanor. Ohio has some of the weakest animal protection laws in the nation – ranking 43rd out of all 50 states. Further, no federal laws provide protection for farmed animals during their lives on the farm. Such inadequate state laws and the absence of federal laws lead to rampant abuse.
The deplorable conditions uncovered at Conklin Dairy Farms further highlight the reality that animal agriculture cannot be trusted to self-regulate and that meaningful federal and state law must be implemented and strengthened to prevent egregious cruelty to farmed animals.
"Gregg's punishment is a slap on the wrist compared to the unimaginable suffering endured by the animals who were victims of his malicious abuse," says MFA's Executive Director, Nathan Runkle. ""It's an outrage that in Ohio it's a mere misdemeanor to sadistically punch, beat and stab farmed animals, break their bones and otherwise torture them. This case should serve as a wake-up call to all compassionate citizens that Ohio must do more to strengthen its animal cruelty laws.""
Although many of the abuses documented at Conklin Dairy Farms are expressions of Gregg's sadistic pathology, numerous MFA undercover investigations at dairy farms, pig farms, egg farms, hatcheries and slaughterhouses have revealed that violence and abuse to farmed animals – whether malicious or institutionalized – run rampant nationwide.
Compassionate consumers can end their direct financial support of farmed animal abuse by rejecting dairy, and other animal products, and adopting a vegan diet.