Though I frequently write about animal welfare issues, I seldom encounter news stories about the humane treatment of farm animals. But when I saw a CNN clip about abuse at an Ohio dairy farm, I was horrified. Please note that, while I linked to the CNN clip, it depicts extremely graphic violence, so viewer discretion is strongly encouraged.
The non-profit animal welfare organization Mercy For Animals conducted a four-week-long undercover investigation that exposed dairy farm workers violently abusing cows and calves at the Conklin Dairy Farms in Plain City, Ohio. Captured on hidden camera, the grotesque footage shows calves being punched in their faces, cows being stabbed by pitchforks and punched in their udders, and workers bragging about how severely they beat – and sometimes killed – the cows.
Police arrested 25-year-old Billy Joe Gregg Jr. on 12 counts of animal cruelty, and the Conklin Dairy Farms issued a statement saying they don’t condone the abuse and have fired Gregg. However, according to Mercy For Animals, this one farm is indicative of a larger reality: They’ve uncovered similar abuse situations during undercover investigations of additional dairy farms, pig farms, hatcheries, and more.
So what can we do to help abused farm animals?
- Support organizations like Mercy For Animals and Farm Sanctuary.
- Shop your local farmer’s market. Local family-owned farms may even let you tour their facility so you can see first-hand how they treat their animals.
- Eat less meat and dairy or consider going vegetarian.
- Encourage your friends and family in Ohio to sign the Ohioans for Humane Farms petition or send a letter to the USDA through The Humane Society’s Humane Alert.