Friday, July 9, 2010

Vets Say Kicking Sick or Weak Animals is Necessary

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – On Monday, an Ohio grand jury decided to clear Gary Conklin, owner of Conklin Dairy Cattle Sales LLC, of criminal charges in connection with the abuse of cows on his farm. In a disturbing video distributed worldwide in May, Mr. Conklin is shown kicking a “downed” cow too weak to stand by herself. According to a statement given to the media by the prosecutor in the case, four large animal veterinarians told law enforcement officials that “delivering a sharp blow” to a sick or weak animal is necessary in order to avoid risk of “injury and death” and is standard practice in the dairy industry as an “entirely appropriate” means to get non-ambulatory animals to move.

In response to the court's action, Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, said “The involvement of experts in excusing cruelty to animals on the grounds that it is ‘standard practice’ in the industry is unconscionable. With the eyes of the world watching, this case represented an important opportunity to send a strong message of compassion. It is unfortunate that the four veterinarians called to testify in the Conklin Dairy case sided with commercial interests, instead of denouncing a clear example of abuse. The sordid notion of ‘standard practice’ is commonly used to justify cruelty in an industry where bad has become normal. It is nothing short of a dereliction of duty for a professional trained to provide medical care to animals to support practices such as kicking them and to say that it is to the benefit of the animals.”

Soon after the video came to light, Farm Sanctuary reached out to the Union County Humane Society, one of the agencies handling the investigation, with an offer to accept and provide shelter for any animals confiscated during the investigation. Unfortunately, the investigation did not result in the seizure of any animals. Baur added, “It is heartbreaking that, to date, not a single mistreated cow has been given a second chance at a life free from fear and pain.”

SOURCE: Farm Sanctuary

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