First of all I would like to introduce myself. My name is Tom Leonard. I have a wonderful wife Denise and a marvelous son Casey. We started our own farm in April of 2008. We borrowed alot of money for high priced cows to go along with the $20 milk. Thing are not so good for us now as it is with many across this nation.

On May 26th I found out about the Mercy for Animals investigation that took place at Conklin Dairy Cattle LLC. I watched the YouTube video as many of you have. At the end I had many questions. Since then I have participated in some news forums regarding the video.

The animal rights activists are a very cruel bunch of people. This is my personal opinion. I have been in debates with the most radical of people. I feel these people are out of touch with reality. However they have alot of donated funds behind them. The initiative behind the AR movment seems to be veganism. Vegans do not consume anything animal related because they feel using a animal for food is abuse and it is also exploiting the animal. Here in reality we know different.

I am 32, my wife 25, and my son is 22 months. I started my farm to make something for the next generation to take over and make their mark.

I want to create a facebook, twitter, or a website to start providing FACTS to the public. From what I have read the vegan/animal rights information is mearly propeganda/lies. This misinformation is giving us a "black eye."

As Walt said in the last issue of Progressive Dairyman "I don't think many of his industry colleagues were behind him," referring to Gary Conklin. I agree. I have been and will continue to fight for Mr. Conklin on the forums for Ohio news.

What I am asking of you is will you support a facebook/twitter site and maybe even do a little public relations work to benifit all of us in the dairy industry. Myself I am in the 8% age bracket of farmers, I am going to defend us because I plan on sticking around for a long time. I want to make the social media sites a group effort to defend ourselves from the lies that we are faced with. Please comment to let me know how many are interested so we can move on and regain our pride for this industry that we love.

Thank You

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Comment by Brad Kauer on July 26, 2010 at 2:31pm
Tom-
This is Brad Kauer from over by Walworth.
I'd be interested in helping you put something together. I have a fair amount of literature on the subject. Elanco is a good source for some of that stuff. Let me know when you get your hay finished up. This project could be something that could be put together and distributed to dairy farmers as a fact sheet to be handed out at county fairs or town festivals almost anywhere across the country.
Comment by Tom Leonard on July 25, 2010 at 9:50am
I will do that. I just wanted to put some facts about the cows, AI, BST, care, feed rations, etc. I also wanted to list some myths. Manure management, pollution, inefficiencies with the land. The AR activists are out to put a end to animal agriculture. With the Conklin thing in Ohio, Mercy for Animals allowed the employee to beat the animals several times before doing anything just to get footage to make the YouTube video. I feel this is ridiculous. Hopefully I get 3rd crop hay done this week and then I should have enough time to put something together. Thank You for your intrest and also it was sorry to hear about your loss:(.
Comment by Katherine Dotterer-Pyle on July 25, 2010 at 7:44am
I totally understand the need for time. We are very busy as well. That's crazy they hand out flyers like that. That kind of thing makes me so irate. What kind of info were you thinking for the flyer? Maybe I could help? We are located in eastern Pennsylvania. Wanted to let you know, I'm going back to school in fall and I know that would be a great way to get the word out. I already have a summer semester under my belt and it was amazing to find out how little students/public know about the dairy industry. My phone is always full of the lateset pics of our animals and dairy and they really liked learning about it. I plan on somehow promoting a wholesome image of the industry to fellow students, especially now I can sport my "Proud to Dairy" backpack I won on here. Keep me updated.
Comment by Tom Leonard on July 24, 2010 at 8:49pm
Thanks Katherine. We are in south eastern Wisconsin. I would like to know where your from. I would like to put together groups for some non-confrontational fun. I am about 85 miles north of Chicago where Mercy for Animals is located. They hand out flyers on Michigan ave. I would like to do the same thing on the same day and hand out chocolate milk(if I can get my dairy to help). I am going to get working on it ASAP, but it may take some time since I have a farm to run also.
Comment by Katherine Dotterer-Pyle on July 24, 2010 at 3:25pm
Hello Tom! Nice to meet you! Loved your blog. My husband is the same age as you and I am the same age as your wife. We don't have any kids but we started our own dairy too in April of 2009. Nice to know there are people as crazy as us. Haha. Where do you hail from? I def agree with what you wrote. I'm interested, always have been in promoting the good image of the dairy industry. You're right, so many people just aren't in reality. I just watched this video clip from Yahoo about cow brushes...they were amazed at what they did, however, the narrator kept calling the dairy cows "he". I was like come on! So yea, count me in!
Comment by Tom Leonard on July 24, 2010 at 1:53pm
Thank You, Walt. I just have had it with the radical AR activists and what they say about Gary, even though he was cleared. These people are NUTS.
Comment by Walt Cooley on July 23, 2010 at 10:51pm
Thanks for the reference to my editorial about animal welfare. The full link to those comments can be found here:

http://www.progressivedairy.com/index.php?option=com_content&vi...

Tom, I admire you taking back animal welfare as the dairy industry's issue. Well done!

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