They’ve done it before and the’ll do it again: An animal rights group infiltrated a true believer into an animal industry under false pretenses. That person tapes the daily occurrences of the business and finds snippents that could be made to appear to (or do) involve abuse. These then are edited out of context and published broadly on the Internet to prove terrible abuse. The media often runs with it in shrill cry. A business teeters.
Sometimes, the depictions are accurate, but often they are merely edited for propagandistic effect. Such a lie was just exposed in Ohio. From the story:
Jurors saw hours of video tape recorded by an undercover employee of the animal-rights group, Mercy For Animals, not just the few minutes that group posted on YouTube, Phillips said. On the tape, Conklin employee Billy Joe Gregg is seen viciously beating and abusing cows and calves at the Plain City farm. Gregg has since been fired. He has been charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty and faces a felony weapons charge. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
Also on the tape, Conklin is shown kicking a cow that is lying down. Phillips said the portion of the tape shown publicly was spliced together and that Conklin’s behavior was taken out of context. The Union County sheriff’s office said it had four veterinarians with experience in large-animal care review the tape. “In context, Mr. Conklin’s actions were entirely appropriate,” Phillips wrote in a news release this morning. “The veterinarians told law enforcement that cows who remain down are at risk of injury or death. A cow’s muscles may atrophy. Once that happens, the cow may never get up and may suffer or die.” In an e-mailed statement, Gary Conklin called the announcement bitterswee”It is gratifying that the grand jury found no reason to bring any charges against our farm, family members or current employees,” he wrote. “However, we remain extraordinarily saddened by the willful abuse of animals on our farm by one of our former employees.”
Yes. Well that wrong treatment would have been stopped had the “employee” advised Conklin that it was happening. But stoppinng that apparently cruel employee from hurting animals wasn’t the point of the exercise. The activists intended to destroy Conklin’s business and his life, and that meant they needed depictions of him hurting animals. Why? He farms animals–and in their minds that means he is evil. It really is that blunt and twisted.
I wonder how many of these infiltrators tape animal businesses and deleted their findings because nothing wrong happened? That point aside, that Mercy for Animals appears to have edited the tape to create a materially false impression about Conklin should lead to push back. What might that look like? The “employee” gained access under false pretenses. Surely, that is trespass. The tapes were edited to create a false impression to destroy the farm. That could be actionable, such as a suit for intentional infliction of emotional distress. If the activists lied under oath–go after them for perjury.
The time has come for the prey of these radical groups to push back hard. These activists need to know there will be consequences when they intentionally skew sureptitiously obtained material to mislead for the purposes of destroying business and/or making an ideological point. I hope Conklin sues.