Dairy Farm Employee Charged With Abuse After Undercover Video Released


UPDATED: Thursday May 27, 2010 10:20 AM

A dairy farm worker was arrested on Wednesday and charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty after an animal rights group released undercover footage showing alleged abuse.

Billy Joe Gregg Jr., 25, of Delaware, was charged with 12 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty, 10TV's Cara Connelly reported.
 
The group, Mercy For Animals, said the video was recorded over the past month at Conklin Dairy Farms, based in Plain City.

SLIDESHOW: Images From Video    (Images May Be Disturbing To Some Viewers)

The video was presented to the Marysville prosecutor's office for review, Connelly reported.
 
Mercy For Animals publicizes what it calls cruel practices in the dairy, meat and egg industries and promotes a vegan diet.

The video shows workers holding newborn calves down and stomping on their heads.

It also shows one worker wiring a cow's nose to a metal bar near the ground and repeatedly beating it with a bar while it bleeds.

On Wednesday, Conklin Dairy Cattle Sales issued a statement, saying it conducted an initial review of the video and found it "clearly inconsistent" with high standards set for its farm and workers.

"We have launched our own internal investigation into this matter and will be conducting interviews with everyone on our farm who works with our animals," the statement read.  "We already have terminated the worker involved who was seen to have willfully abused our cows and calves."

The company said it was cooperating with authorities investigating the matter, and retraining all employees who work with animals.

Ohio Livestock Coalition spokesman Keith Stimpert called the video "disgusting."

"Anyone who's trying to suggest that is normal behavior, or business as usual at Ohio's dairy farms, have it very wrong," Stimpert said.

Stimpert said a full investigation should be conducted.

"Clearly, I think we have a situation where maybe animal rights activists or others are trying to advance an agenda beyond what I think is the agenda of Ohio farmers," Stimpert said. "And that's caring for the animals on our farms and providing safe and affordable food."

A Mercy For Animals representative posed as a worker at the Conklin Farm for about a month and that is when he captured the abuse on tape, Connelly reported.

The chief investigator for the group said the cruelty does not seem to be in response to anything the animals are doing.

"It is normally related to slow movement, not this kind of sadistic malicious constant doing it for pleasure," Daniel Hauff said.  "This guy brags about it, he says he enjoys it."

Authorities said more charges could be filed.

The Union County Humane Society is helping with the investigation.

"It is very emotional," said humane society worker Steffan Baldwin. "Obviously I work at a humane society because I am an animal lover. It was extremely emotional to have to sit and watch it."

The animal cruelty charges carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine, Connelly reported.

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May 26, 2010: Dairy Farm Fires Worker Over Animal Abuse Allegations