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Animal Activist

TOLEDO -- Video tapes taken over the past two years show diseased hens and hens in crowded conditions at several large-scale egg farms in Ohio.

Members of the western Ohio group behind those tapes says they're documenting animal cruelty. But the state Department of Agriculture is concerned about threats to food safety and urges farmers to press charges against intruders.

Nathan Runkle is the 18-year-old director of Urbana-based Mercy for Animals. He says he walked into barns at Weaver Brothers Egg Farm in Versailles twice in December, and removed a bird he found alive in a trash can full of dead hens. Weaver Brothers president Tim Weaver says he didn't know the group had been in his barns and hasn't decided if he'll complain to police.

Posted 11:45 PM Sunday, March 2nd
vfiorello@wtol.com