Ohio Dairy Farmer Escapes Cruelty Charges

In May of this year, animal welfare group, Mercy for Animals, released a video showing cows being beaten and abused at Conklin Dairy Farms in Ohio.

Among other forms of violent abuse, the video showed farm workers using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs, and stomach, twisting cows’ tails until the bones snapped, kicking “downed” cows in the face and neck, beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars, and violently punching young calves in the face and stomping on their heads.

In the week that followed the release of the video, Billy Joe Gregg Jr., one of the workers implicated in the video, was charged with 12 counts of animal cruelty, and has since been held in custody on $100,000 bail. Each of the 12 charges holds a maximum fine of $750 and is punishable by 90 days in jail.

After firing Gregg and claiming that the video does not reflect the farm’s commitment to animal care, the dairy released the following statement:

“The video shows animal care that is clearly inconsistent with the high standards we set for our farm and its workers, and we find the specific mistreatment shown on the video to be reprehensible and unacceptable… We will not condone animal abuse on our farm.”

On Tuesday of this week, it was announced that Gary Conklin, the owner of the farm, will not be facing charges at all, after investigators and veterinarians studied the video and concluded that Conklin “acted appropriately”.

As many animal advocates can attest to, there is nothing particularly unusual about the abuse at Conklin Dairy Farm. In fact, it is a routine example of what happens to animals all over the world, whenever they are being used for economic gain.

As long as animals remain the property of humans, and are legally allowed to be used as economic production units – living “machines” who produce eggs, milk, flesh, skin, fur and other bodily parts and secretions for human profit – they will be afforded no significant protection under the law, as the economic interests of the property owner will always trump even the most crucial interests of his or her property.

As explained by Professor of Law Gary Francione in his book Rain without Thunder (p. 132):

“‘Unnecessary’ suffering or ‘cruel’ treatment will come to be understood as that suffering which does not serve some legitimate purpose. And without any notion of absolute prohibitions on the use of animals, all uses of animals that generate social wealth will be regarded as legitimate.”

On any large-scale dairy production facility, there are many routine, perfectly legal rights violations (such as forcible insemination and the cutting off of tails) which ought to horrify any individual who is concerned about animal interests. Dairy cows (and all other animals in production facilities) live a life – from beginning to end – that would easily qualify as abusive, with or without the added horror of encountering sadism from individual workers who have been trained to treat animals like machines.

Tougher regulations – even in the rare cases that they are actually implemented and enforced – only serve to perpetuate the idea that it is possible to use animals in such a way that would be morally acceptable. If we believe that animals have an interest in the continuation of their lives and in the avoidance of suffering, then it is absurd to campaign for regulation of an industry that has been built around the idea that animals are ‘things’ – objects that we can use however we so choose.

As with any other form of industrialized animal use, consumers have the choice either to participate in it or to refuse the products of exploitation and opt out of the demand-supply cycle altogether. Humans have no need for animal products, and the increasing number of vegans on the planet is a testament to how easy it is to live a healthy, fulfilling life without participating in the systematic abuse and unnecessary killing that goes on in the animal industry every day.

Image: graur razvan ionut / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


William C
William C11 months ago

Thank you.

W. C
W. C12 months ago


william n.
will n4 years ago

The owner of this farm had to know this was going on ! if he could not see the injuries that were inflicted on these innocent and [ captive ] creatures , then he should not be allowed to manage a farm or any animals . As for the sentence this judge needs to resign and lets get someone who is in touch with reality !

Hope S.
Hope Sellers6 years ago

I watched the video and found it horrifying beyond words. There were at least two individuals involved because someone was video taping the abuse. These people are monsters and obvious sociopaths. The fines and penalties are way too lenient. Animal abuse is a predictor of human abuse. The owner of the farm had to be aware because after the cows were abused and suffered extreme injuries, they had to be put down or
died slowly from their injuries after which they had to be disposed of. What owner doesn't know how many cows he has and how many are injured, sick, or dying? If he doesn/t he shouldn't be in the dairy business.
This dairy farm should be shut down and the ower never allowed another. The judge should
be removed from office.

Susan T.
Susan T7 years ago

Enforce the laws..as meager as they are.
No one will be accused of indulgence if they treat their animals as if they were a living, breathing, feeling creature.

Carol Reins
Carol R7 years ago

He acted appropriately? how absurd!...judge you just let all the animal abusers on factory farms the go-ahead to continue their abuse...thanks alot and i'm sure the animals are thinking "what the fuck!"

Lynne T.
Lynne T7 years ago

Cows milk is meant to bring calves to maturity in two years and I think it is absurd that humans drink it. Again it is the industry that have persuaded us to by claiming that we need the calcium from a totally different species for strong bones. No other species drinks milk into adulthood and calcium can be found in many other foods.As for the cruelty to animals in the meat and dariy industry it is an absolute disgrace and a blot on mankind.

Sue L.
michelle t7 years ago

Payback for this FW dumbarse bastard for SURE!!!
What goes around comes around.Remember that!!

Patrice D.
Patrice D7 years ago

"Drinking cow milk has been linked to iron-deficiency anemia in infants and children; it has been named as the cause of cramps and diarrhea in much of the World's population and the cause of multiple forms of allergies as well." -Dr. Frank Oski, former Director of the Johns Hopkins University Dept. of Pediatrics.

"USDA statistics show that in 1940, cows averaged 2.3 tons of milk per year. Despite large milk surpluses, Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH) was approved in 1993 to further increase milk outputs. The 1996 average was 8.3 tons per cow. Some BGH treated cows have recently produced more than 30 tons of milk in a year."(Assoc. Press)


"Who was the guy who first looked at a cow and said, 'I think I'll drink whatever comes out of these things when I squeeze 'em!'?" -Calvin & Hobbes.

lindy e.
Linda Eduarte7 years ago

I will NEVER understand how the Judge let the
"idiots from the Ohio farm with the video " go? Their behavior is was (is) disgusting and they should be held accountable for the cruelty they BOTH inflicted on the cows. The owner is also guilty. He is a out and out LIAR and the court believed him??? What kind of JUSTICE goes on in Ohio on that farm?????
I think they are all asleep and stupid...Lindy