Cows Beaten on Dairy Farm, Welfare Group Claims

This image taken from video released by the welfare group "Mercy For Animals" allegedly shows an Ohio dairy farm worker punching a calf in the head. CBS/Mercy For Animals

An animal welfare group said Tuesday that a graphic video it secretly recorded shows workers at a dairy farm beating cows with crowbars, stabbing them with pitchforks and punching them in their heads.

The video was recorded in an undercover investigation at Conklin Dairy Farms Inc., said Mercy For Animals, a not-for-profit group that publicizes what it calls cruel practices in the dairy, meat and egg industries and promotes a vegan diet.

Click here to see the video on Mercy For Animals' website. Be advised, content is graphic and disturbing.

The video shows workers holding down newborn calves and stomping on their heads. It shows one worker wiring a cow's nose to a metal bar near the ground and repeatedly beating it with another bar while it bleeds.

Conklin Dairy Farms, a fourth-generation family operation based in Plain City, Ohio, said it takes the care of its cows and calves very seriously and had reviewed the video.

"The video shows animal care that is clearly inconsistent with the high standards we set for our farm and its workers, and we find the specific mistreatment shown on the video to be reprehensible and unacceptable," Gary Conklin, of Conklin Dairy Cattle Sales LLC, said Tuesday night in an e-mailed statement. "We will not condone animal abuse on our farm."

The company said it would interview its farm workers and anyone found to have willfully abused the cows or calves would be fired.

Last year, Mercy For Animals, which is based in Chicago, released a video showing workers at an Iowa egg hatchery tossing male chicks into a grinder. Industry groups said such instantaneous euthanasia was a common practice because male chicks can't lay eggs or be raised quickly enough to be sold for meat.

Mercy For Animals' executive director, Nathan Runkle, said the cow video was shot between April 28 and Sunday by an undercover worker at the dairy, about 25 miles northwest of Columbus. He said the documented abuse violates Ohio's anti-animal cruelty statute.

The group presented the video and the evidence it collected to the prosecutor's office in Marysville. The prosecutor's office didn't respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.
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