Calf-Farm Animal Cruelty Video Results in Criminal Charges

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Last month we reported on a pretty shocking hidden-camera video that showed workers at a calf farm in the Panhandle town of Hart bashing animals on the head with hammers and pickaxes.

The owner of E6 Cattle Company, Kirt Espenson, told us at the time that four employees had been responsible and had been fired. A whistleblower brought forth by the group Mercy for Animals said the cruelty was more widespread and known about than the owner indicated.

Today Espenson and the farm's foreman were hit with Class A misdeanor charges of cruelty to livestock by the Castro County DA's office. Four employees were charged with the state jail felony of cruelty to animals/livestock.

"We commend the Castro County District Attorney and Sheriff's Office for taking swift and decisive action in bringing these animal abusers to justice," said Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy For Animals. "Let this case be a wake-up call to the dairy industry that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated."

MFA said their investigation showed:

-- Workers bludgeoning calves in their skulls with pickaxes and hammers

-- Beaten calves, still alive and conscious, thrown onto piles to slowly suffer and die

-- Workers kicking sick or injured calves in the head, and standing on their necks and ribs

-- Calves confined to squalid hutches, thick with manure and urine buildup, and barely large enough for the calves to turn around or fully extend their legs

-- Gruesome injuries, including open sores, swollen joints and severed hooves

-- Sick, injured and dying calves denied any medical care

You can view the video, if you can take it, here.

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