Billy Joe Gregg, 25, was arrested by the Union County Sheriff's Department this morning, after they were called to the Conklin Dairy Farm in Plain City, Ohio, to be on hand while Gregg was fired.
According to Sheriff Chief Deputy Tom Morgan, Gregg has been charged with a dozen counts of cruelty to animals, which is only a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750.
MFA, a Chicago-based animal-advocacy group, released its undercover video this morning. It shows an employee or employees punching calves, kicking cows' udders and poking cows with a pitchfork.
The video also allegedly shows the owner of the farm, Gary Conklin, kicking a sick cow in the neck.
If Gregg is, in fact, the person who can be seen the most on the video, his actions are inexcusable and he should be facing more than misdemeanors. However, he's a scapegoat.
That kind of behavior likely would have been seen by supervisors and possibly by Conklin himself. Judging by Conklin's own behavior in the video, he condoned such cruelty and should also be held accountable.
In an interview with ABN radio, "Ohio's voice for agriculture," Morgan wouldn't comment on whether the department was pursuing other "suspects."
According to a news story yesterday, Mercy For Animals had been in touch with the county prosecutor before the video went public.
The Chicago-based organization said it has met with prosecutors and is pushing for criminal charges against employees of the facility.So I don't understand why Gregg hadn't been arrested before this morning. The only thing that would have changed is public outrage.
More Industry Response
Despite those in animal agribusiness condemning the actions in the video, ag supporters also blame animal activists.
In his interview with the chief deputy, Andy Vance seemed to blame activists for going public with the cruelty.
When you look at the public nature of this and the high profile that, I guess, the Internet and some of the activist groups who are involved have brought to bear, I'm guessing that this has put some additional strain on your department and your staff and deputies trying to not only investigate this case but also do your everyday job of protecting the community and the county of Union.Morgan's response was that "We've got our day to day operations to take care of, and this has been a drain on our manpower."
Well, sorry for the inconvenience. Perhaps you should blame Conklin and the culture of violence at his facility.
Vance isn't the only one blaming us activists. The Web site AgWired, "News from the world of agribusiness," calls us out directly.
This is a group of militant vegans with an agenda so it is good to question their credibility and motivation.We all have an agenda. Even the animal-agribusiness people. Perhaps especially the animal-agribusiness people. They make their living by exploiting animals. If I were going to question anyone's credibility and motivation, it'd be those who benefit financially.
Sure, Mercy For Animals may get some extra donations in light of this video. But it won't be anywhere near the money that agribusiness rakes in. And people like me who are blogging about the MFA video won't see any money. We do it -- and the people at MFA do it -- because we care about animals. We're not so myopic as to view animals as objects. We can see their pain. We know they don't deserve to be imprisoned and murdered. That's our motivation.
We will continue fighting until they are free. That's our agenda.
(Photo of rescued calves, courtesy of Farm Sanctuary.)