Fine In Pig Deaths The Real Crime
To The Editor:
I was thoroughly disgusted to read the headline “Warfordsburg Man Fined $2,500 In Pig Deaths” on the front page of last week’s Fulton County News. I know I am not alone in my belief that this punishment is a very small price for Mr. Clark to pay for his actions. He and his attorney have tried to reduce these actions to an unfortunate accident, which resulted from a “malfunction of his liquid manure system.” Even if this malfunction was the initial cause for problems, Mr. Clark’s negligence was the primary reason for the death of nearly 1,000 pigs on his farm. Keep in mind that in the November 18, 2010, article in The News concerning the incident, we were informed that not a trace of grain was found in the silos on the farm and also that the hogs had “turned to cannibalism due to being deprived of food and water.” Last week’s article included the following statement of District Attorney Travis Kendall: “To be clear, we will never know exactly what happened in those barns” – but we do. What happened was a lot of cruel and unnecessary suffering. The uncertainty surrounding this case should by no means have been the free pass that has been given to Mr. Clark. Because he was planning on pleading not guilty to all 832 counts of animal cruelty he was previously being charged with, the district attorney entered a deal with the court to drop 822 of those counts in exchange for a guilty plea to just 10 counts. Call me crazy, but to me that doesn’t seem to weigh out. For a district attorney and magisterial district judge to accept such an inappropriate “deal” is a crime in itself. Even more disturbing, with the sentence of a $2,500 fine, the value of each of those pigs’ lives, including the torture they endured, was swiftly reduced to a dollar amount for which we can now not even purchase a gallon of gas.
At any rate, Mr. Clark is now farming pigs in Maryland, according to an article in the Public Opinion. This blatant act of animal cruelty and the way it was handled in court is an insult to the farming community and our county as a whole. With the kind of meek consequence that was handed out by Magisterial District Judge Johnson, I am afraid that we will continue to see incidents like this occur in the future.