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Drill Helps Test FMD Response

In the event of a foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the United States, what public official would be in charge? What would happen to farmers in the outbreak area? Where would farmers go for information?

Those questions and others were put to a test Tuesday, June 8 at World Pork Expo in Des Moines, where more than 80 attendees representing production agriculture, law enforcement, media and state and federal governments participated in Pork-Checkoff-sponsored table-top exercise based on a simulated FMD outbreak.

The United States has not had an FMD case since 1929, but recent outbreaks in Japan and elsewhere have brought renewed attention to the need to be vigilant, said Patrick Webb, a veterinarian and director of swine health programs for the Pork Checkoff. Webb said exercises such as the one conducted Tuesday are based on scenarios that require participants to make decisions and to move equipment and animals on a scale model of a small town and surrounding farms.

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Animal abuse video shines negative light on Ohio dairy industry

On May 25, the animal rights group Mercy For Animals (MFA) released hidden video taken from Conklin Dairy Farms Inc., near Plain City that showed alleged abuse of the farm’s dairy animals. Graphic video shows animals on the Union County farm being beaten with crowbars, stabbed with pitchforks and punched in the head.

Nathan Runkle, MFA executive director, said the cow video was shot between April 28 and May 23 by an undercover worker at the dairy, about 25 miles northwest of Columbus. The group presented the video and the evidence it collected to the prosecutor’s office in Marysville.

The vast majority of the footage shows former Conklin employee Billy Joe Gregg Jr., 25, of Delaware County, who was fired by the farm the day after the video was released. Gregg was subsequently arrested and charged with 12 counts of misdemeanor cruelty to animals. He faces up to a $750 fine and 90 days in jail on each charge, if convicted.

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Online threat to Conklin dairy causes a commotion

“Conklin Dairy — The Time for a Monumental Action is NOW!!!” was the headline posted on the Web site negotiationisover.com by animal activist Gary Yourofsky. In his May 28 diatribe, after viewing the video Mercy for Animals had released of a farm employee harming animals at Conklin Dairy near Plain City, Yourofsky called for fellow animal activists to literally attack the farm at noon on Memorial Day.

“… we cannot let that slave-owner Gary Conklin operate his dairy imprisonment camp with impunity any longer,” he wrote, referring to the farm as the Conklin Concentration Camp, or CCC.

“… TOGETHER WE WILL DISASSEMBLE THE FARM PIECE BY PIECE AND SHUT DOWN THIS PLACE OF TORTURE!!!” Yourofsky continued. “I am asking everyone who cares about justice and injustice to bring bolt cutters, bats, crowbars, pitchforks, hammers and wrenches to help destroy every piece of equipment the farm has, and tear down the sheds.”

The message also promoted violence against farm workers and law officers.

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My thoughts on the Conklin Dairy Sales video

By Don Sanders, veterinarian, Ohio State University 

You’ve probably seen the video that’s been storming the networks and the Internet — the one of an individual beating up and torturing cows and calves at Conklin Dairy Sales in Plain City. I found it so repugnant that I turned the video off. I was angry and ready to string up the individual who was shown committing these atrocities. Several of my dairy clients reported similar emotions.

Our team at the OSU Large Animal Field Service has provided veterinary services for Conklin Dairy Sales for many years. We attend to animals there several times a week. In all of this time, no one in our group has ever seen signs of abuse on any animal at this operation.

Mercy for Animals

The video was shot by a Mercy for Animals undercover agent over a period of seven weeks. As repugnant as the abuse itself is, the fact that the videographer taped this sociopath, on several occasions, without ever calling the authorities or the owner to end the senseless violence is also disturbing.

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Ohio Dairy Producers Respond to Video

The recent release of a graphic video allegedly taken at an Ohio dairy farm has generated volumes of comments on the Internet.

The Ohio Dairy Producers Association/American Dairy Association Mideast (ODPA/ADA) released a statement regarding the release of the footage by Mercy For Animals.

“Ohio’s dairy farmers are firmly committed to responsible care of our cows and calves and to ensuring their complete well-being at all times.  The willful abuse of the animals shown in the video footage is clearly unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

“Furthermore, the actions shown in the footage absolutely do not reflect how Ohio’s dairy farmers as a whole care for their cows and calves.  Our farmers have a moral and ethical obligation to provide excellent care of our herds every day, and they do so, because it is the right thing to do and it ensures they can continue to produce safe, wholesome, quality milk and dairy foods.

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Chipotle announces support of HSUS

By Kyle Sharp

OK, survey time … how many of you like eating at Chipotle?

I’ll admit, I enjoy the occasional Chipotle burrito myself, although I often somehow felt dirty after eating one. Why? Because of the information Chipotle distributes on their Web site and in their restaurants about how they source the meat they use. I have no problem with them using all naturally raised pork and chicken, and 50% naturally raised beef, if that is what they choose to do. It’s their habit of slandering conventional American agriculture in the process that doesn’t sit so well.

On the Chipotle Web site, the company touts the idea of making “Food With Integrity.” The site states: “Food

With Integrity is a philosophy solidly based on a foundation of not exploiting animals, the environment or people.”

The not-so-hidden message there is that most U.S. farmers, those that produce more than 95% of the meat and animal products produced in this country, apparently do exploit animals, the environment and people.

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