During this week of July you may think that this Gr. Clevelander is devastated by the loss of LeBron James. You would be wrong- though I am saddend but for a different reason.
From Farm Sanctuary came this news re the terrible abuse which happened in May on the Conklin Dairy farm: "On July 8, 2010 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."
During the trial- four animal veterinarians testified '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." (I would think kicking a downed cow would cause injury or death. How gullible can we be?)
I am so glad that Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary issued the following statement in response to the clearing of Gary Conklin of Criminal Charges:
"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."
On the subject of how to handle a downed cow he said: "There are humane ways to address this issue, but when animals are viewed as unfeeling commondities, the time and effort required to handle a downed cow in an appropriate manner is often set aside in favor of expediency at the expense of the animal's welfare."
After the cruelty video by Mercy for Animals was made public, Farm Santuary offered to take the abused cows. One worker on the video had been shown picking up a calf - slamming him down and punching him repeatedly. The video was hard to watch but I thank Channel WOIO for showing us this cruelty video more often during the week than any of the three other Cleveland stations. I only hope that those cows and calves who it appears were consistently traumatized are doing much better since their chief cruel tormentor is now in prison. It is sad though that when Farm Sanctuary offered to take some of the most severely traumatized cows and calves -their humane offer was rejected.
Gene Baur also reminded us of a quote by Ruth Harrison, author of Animal Machines: "If one person is unkind to an animal it is considered cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to a lot of animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is defended. And once large sums of money are involved it will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people."
Not too long ago a cruel Ohio farmer and his sons who hung sick pigs as a form of euthanasia and kicked around sick piglets like footballs were fined a measly $100 by a clearly uncaring judge. And unbelievably at this trial an out of town vet said that hanging pigs was an approved form of euthanasia! I wonder how much he was paid to testify.
And in the case of the Conklin Dairy Abuse Trial, here again an owner who must have been aware of the cruelty of his hired help and who himself was seen delivering a sharp blow to a poor downed cow has been absolved from charges of cruelty. I would not want to be an abused farm animal in Ohio. I would never get a fair trial.
If only those people who have been trying for the past weeks to convince LeBron to stay in his native Ohio and with the team which gave him his start- would just have used some of their passion in objecting to this "typical" sorry excuse for a trial which should have ended with a prosecution, I would have been impressed. But no- I don't believe that the fact that farm animals were abused wasn't even on their radar or agenda. The only thing these sport "fanatics" could think of was the "King." I think some of them made fools of themselves in trying to convince him that he should remain a Cav. Though I believe for a 24 -year old he has made some wise decisions, I don't think this was one of them. To me deciding to go to Miami he was acting like a little boy who wanted to play basketball with his friends. What about loyalty? That term must be foreign to him.
But more than anything I would say to basketball fans - enjoy the game and don't take it too seriously. Get involved with other things like concern for human or animal suffering. For many of us it is very rewarding and even a way of life - to be caring of these animals whose only voice is ours. While I do enjoy watching my beloved Indians who are in last place, I have time for other things - like joining others in their concern that all animals are treated compassionately. They are after all God's creatures too.