On September 24, 2010, Billy Joe Gregg, Jr., a worker we caught during my tenure overseeing covert operations of farmed animal operations nationally as Mercy For Animals (“MFA”) [sic] Director of Investigation, pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. We documented Gregg along with nearly all of his co-workers and Conklin Dairy Farm Owner Gary Conklin – abusing the animals on the premises.
Conklin Dairy Farms is a small dairy facility in rural Ohio. Our investigation documented Gregg maliciously abusing cows and calves and everyone at the facility, including the owner, was allegedly engaged in abusive activities. The owner can be seen in the undercover footage viciously kicking a downed cow, who our undercover investigator simply guided up moments later, so hard on her face that you can see her spittle fly horizontally through the air across the barn. He kicked her repeatedly. Note: downed cows are an urgent matter, but there is absolutely no reason to use last resort methods, notably violent abuse, as one’s first mode of getting an animal to rise.
Sadly, abuse is the norm at dairy facilities. Cruelty is the law of the land. And this was a “family” farm.
Gregg was sentenced to eight months in jail, ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, and was 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 our chilling undercover footage recorded at Conklin Dairy Farms in Plain City, Ohio.
During a four-week investigation in April and May, MFA’s investigator documented farm workers:
- Violently punching young calves in the face, body slamming them to the ground, and pulling and throwing them by their ears
- Routinely using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs and stomach
- Kicking “downed” cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck – abuse carried out and encouraged by the farm’s owner
- Maliciously beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars – some attacks involving over 40 blows to the head
- Twisting cows’ tails until the bones snapped
- Punching cows’ udders
- Bragging about stabbing, dragging, shooting, breaking bones, and beating cows and calves to death
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.
Review what the experts say about the Conklin Dairy Farms investigation.