Advocacy group documents abuse on W. Texas heifer ranch

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A Texas dairy heifer ranch was the center of attention following the release of footage from an undercover investigation by the animal-rights group Mercy For Animals. The footage, released to the public Tuesday, included graphic images of employees at the E6 Cattle Company in Hart, Texas, bludgeoning sick and injured calves.

According KDAF-TV in Dallas/Fort Worth, the advocacy group filmed the abuse from March 2 to March 18. 

Wednesday morning, dairy industry groups condemned the actions shown in the video.

"The actions depicted on the Mercy for Animals video are appalling and completely unacceptable," according to a statement released by Dairy Management Inc., which manages the national dairy checkoff program.

"The actions in this video do not reflect the practices of the thousands of hard-working dairy farm families across the U.S. who care for their animals every day," the DMI statement said. "Dairy farmers and their employees take this responsibility very seriously. Texas' dairy farmers, as well as dairy farmers across the country, are as outraged by this video as the public."

KCBD-TV in Lubbock, Texas, carried the following statement from the owner of E6 Cattle Company: "I take full responsibility for what happened in the video. I am embarrassed and disappointed. The four men in the video have been fired. This is not what we do at the ranch and it will never happen again."

James Bias, president of SPCA of Texas, watched the video and agreed that the incidents were not common for any cattle ranch.

“This is not a normal livestock industry standard,” Bias said. “There is no defense to prosecution in claiming that this is some kind of industry standard because no one would say that a pick-axe is the best way to euthanize downed livestock."

The new National Dairy FARM program Animal Care Manual has a specific appendix explaining the proper application of euthanasia.

"It does not permit manually applied blunt force trauma, as was depicted in the video," according to the National Milk Producers Federation, which developed the FARM program. "The program’s guidelines also disavow malicious striking or dragging animals, and encourage the use of analgesics during dehorning and debudding." 

Click here to read more on the situation.


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Robin Vigfusson    
New Jersey  |  April, 20, 2011 at 09:45 AM

Over and over and over again, we are seeing hideous footage at CAFO's and then being told 'this is not a normal livestock industry standard.' One can only deduce that many workers become hardened to the point of sadism and some even become sociopathic. Standard operation at CAFO's is enough to suffice as animal cruelty without these 'out of the ordinary' atrocities. It is time for Factory Farms to be dismantled entirely.

Janet Weeks    
Sacramento, CA  |  April, 20, 2011 at 10:35 AM

If this is not "normal livestock industry standard," then why does it keep happening and happening again, at Willet Dairy Farm, at Conklin Dairy Farm, at Hallmark Meat Packing, Portales Livestock Auction, Bushway Packing, Inc., at who knows how many other Dairy Industry facilities that have NOT been exposed? There is no way ANIMAL FACTORIES can properly care for the thousands of animals confined in these hellholes. DITCH DAIRY! DITCH CRUELTY! DISMANTLE FACTOY FARMS! GO VEGAN!!

Pennsylvania  |  April, 20, 2011 at 11:14 AM

So the investigator for Mercy for Animals documented this horrific stuff for 16 days and did nothing????? I am a dairy farmer’s daughter... I have given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to calves, I have slept in the barn night after sleepless night with cows that I thought might have trouble calving so that I would be there to help. I have brought baby animals that might have been the "runt" into the house to feed them every 3 hours to give them the best chance possible. I love my cows. I love animals and I hate that there are a few people that abuse them in this way and hate even more that there are people in this world that are so focused on promoting the vegan agenda that they would allow horrific abuse like this to occur for 16 GOD-Forsaken days just to promote their political agenda. The men abusing the calves in this video should be knocked in the head with a pickaxe (as they are obviously a danger to society with psychopathic behavior such as this) and the guy who stood by for 16 days filming this abuse should be knocked in the head with a hammer for being so stupid as to let is continue to happen. I do not condone the behavior of the farm workers in this video AT ALL…. But, Mercy for Animals - You showed NO mercy this time.... just your true colors

Corie Bilotta    
Wisconsin  |  April, 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM

I don't believe that mistreatment of farm animals including dairy cows and calves is uncommon. Time and time again, these types of videos surface, and there is no denying this is cruel animal abuse. Those in the dairy industry claim it isn't happening on their farms but I don't buy it. These animals are mere commodities and the easiest, cheapest methods will be used by these "farmers" to ensure they earn their petty profit. Its profits before lives and it is truly disgusting. They don't care about the animals in their care, just about the livelihood of their "businesses" and misleading the public into thinking the animals are treated humanely.

New york  |  April, 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM

The dairy industry will see larger and larger farms due to the pricing system that currently exist in the US with the dairyman receiving less and less of the consumer dollar and increasing cost to produce the milk. The farm in New York was investigated by numerous groups and found no evidence of cruelity or wrong doing, some of the video wasn't even recorded at that farm and the farm in Ohio the man was fired and charged with cruelity of animals but in both cases MERCY FOR ANIMALS PERSONAL DID NOTHING TO AID THESE ANIMALS FOR WEEKS OR MONTHS JUST TO GET THEIR AGENDA ACROSS! Shame on them and in Ohio they are looking into the roll the group played in the cruelity.

Lubbock  |  April, 20, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Wow, John. First - learn proper grammar and spelling. Second. Do you really think this organization is trying to push its own agenda? Ever thought that some folks in this world might actually have an ounce of compassion for these innocent creatures, and this type of footage changes thousands of minds? Get real.

JoAnn Smith    
Ky  |  April, 20, 2011 at 03:02 PM

My family has lived and worked on dairies 36 years and this kind of behavior has always existed.There is not enough supervision to control what happens to the cows,especially at night.The owners need to be really aggressive when it comes to cruelty.The dairies we worked at are all in Florida and was 25 years ago,we are retired now,but seems nothing has changed,and all are factory farms with hubdreds of cows.

Lubbock, TX  |  April, 20, 2011 at 06:32 PM

I could not agree more with Stacy. I visit at least 25 dairies a week in Texas, New Mexico, and Oklahoma and I never see anything like what was displayed in this video. I cannot imagine witnessing this type of behavior and filming it for 16 days without notifiying authorities immediately!

June Stewart    
Texas  |  April, 21, 2011 at 02:18 PM

Years ago my sister told me horror stories about dairy cow producing bulls. They don't produce milk so are treated like durt. One guy was stopped & had one hidden up the spare tire in the trunk. After birth the bulls are taken away from their mother and left to die or killed. I understand the lack of interest in a new born bull but the treatment of these animals is inhuman

WI  |  April, 22, 2011 at 01:07 PM

Everyone cares about animals but nobody says anything about the babies that are aborted evryday, This is a sad situation when people care more about animals than a human life.

Nevada  |  April, 23, 2011 at 12:13 PM

SO, he should have not risked his life and limb to document the abuse, but instead protest it, and be removed from the ranch with no proof, and you would feel better about that? I think you are part of the problem, and want no oversight into your own operation.

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