An Ohio dairy farm worker has been charged with 12 counts of cruelty to animals after a welfare group released a video it says shows him and others beating cows with crowbars and pitchforks.
Marysville prosecutor Tim Aslaner says Billy Joe Gregg Jr. is jailed in Mechanicsburg. The Union County sheriff's office says Gregg was fired from Conklin Dairy Farms in Plain City on Wednesday.
The Marysville Municipal Court says the 25-year-old Delaware, Ohio, resident doesn't have a lawyer. A telephone number listed under his name is disconnected.
Conklin calls the mistreatment shown on the video "reprehensible." Chicago-based Mercy For Animals says the undercover video was shot between April 28 and Sunday.
Gregg will be arraigned Thursday. Each count of cruelty to animals has a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
Conklin Dairy Farms, a fourth-generation family operation based in Plain City, condemned the video footage. It said it was cooperating with authorities.
"We will not condone animal abuse on our farm," the dairy said in a statement released Wednesday. "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 sheriff's office said the investigation was ongoing and may result in further charges.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation released the following statement regarding the video showing abuse of the animals:
"The gratuitous cruelty exhibited in this video is incomprehensible to anyone who is devoted to caring for farm animals. Clearly, the intent of this employee’s actions was nothing short of torture and the severity of his acts calls out for punishment. There is no question the treatment these animals were subjected to is wrong. But there are additional questions that are not so clear. What motivated this brutal behavior? Why was the cruelty not immediately brought to the attention of the farm owners or law enforcement? Farm Bureau believes it is important that all of facets of this incident be explored and encourages a comprehensive examination by the proper legal authorities. We are also concerned that this incident will be manipulated for political gain by animal-rights activists. Any attempt to portray these horrific acts as commonplace on Ohio farms would be deceitful. Farmers take care of their livestock because it’s what decent people do, and because comfortable animals are productive animals. Farmers should not be judged by this aberrant and disgusting event.”
The American Association of Bovine Practitioners also released the following statement about the video.
“The AABP condemns willful acts of animal abuse such as those videotaped on a dairy animal marketing operation near Columbus, Ohio. The images are extremely disturbing and do not represent the animal care standards practiced in animal agriculture today. The repeated instances of kicking, beating and stabbing of these animals are barbaric, inhumane and unacceptable. The AABP urges local law enforcement to investigate fully and prosecute individuals involved in these acts of animal abuse to the full extent of the law. The collective experience of the veterinarians in AABP suggests that these images do not represent what is normal or common. When animals are raised for food, it is a moral imperative that they be raised humanely.”
Source: Associated Press contributed to this article