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      Undercover video: Panhandle cattle operation accused of beating cows to death

      It's graphic, hidden-camera video and it was shot at a local factory. It reveals shocking and malicious cruelty to calves. It's video you simply won't believe.

      The undercover investigation was conducted by animal advocacy organization, Mercy For Animals. The investigation was during three weeks in March. The video shows calves being neglected, abused and bludgeoned to death with hammers and pickaxes. All of these violate Texas anti-cruelty laws.

      WARNING: The following link has extremely graphic images in the video. Pronews 7 warns you to watch this video at your own discretion. It is not recommended for children.

      Mercy for Animals Undercover Video

      Update 4:30pPronews 7 received this statement from Texas livestock groups: DairyMax, Independent Cattlemen TMs Association of Texas, Livestock Market Association of Texas, Texas Association of Dairymen, Texas Beef Council, Texas Cattle Feeders Association, Texas Farm Bureau and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association."The Texas livestock and agriculture organizations listed (above) are appalled by the deplorable euthanasia methods depicted in the Mercy for Animals video. They in no way reflect the actions of the thousands of Texas farmers and ranchers who work hard every day to provide their animals with the best care possible.

      Blunt force is specifically prohibited as a means of euthanasia by American Association of Bovine Practitioners and the American Veterinary Medical Association. The euthanasia methods in this video violate these standards.

      The industry works hard to ensure farmers and ranchers are trained in all areas of animal care and treatment and will continue those efforts.

      We encourage and support a full investigation by local authorities. Good animal care and treatment is an obligation, not an option for farmers and ranchers and we take this responsibility very seriously."

      Update 2:15pIn an interview with Kirt Espenson, the owner of E6 Cattle Co., he tells Pronews 7 he accepts full responsibiliy for the actions of his employees.

      All the employees involved with the harm to the calves have since been fired, he said.

      Espenson explained that during February, the cold temperatures made for very sick and injured cattle. During an average month, his company euthanizes about one calf per month. During February of this year, Espenson says they were having to kill about 20 per day.

      He acknowledges his employees did not have adequate training. He credits that because he had a lot of employees quit and he was accepting basically anyone who was willing to work.

      Espenson also told Pronews 7 that all his employees were given a .22 rifle but they, instead, chose to kill the calves in the malicious manners shown in the video.

      Additionally, Espenson felt that the undercover worker from Mercy For Animals had some type of influence on the employees.

      As for measures his company is taking to correct the problem, he says they have started to implement new training protocol. He also noted that the company has been open for five years and passed all three of its audits with a 100 percent.

      Espenson says he wants to fix the problem.Update 12:30pPronews 7 has now learned that the undercover investigation happened from March 2 until March 18.

      The person doing the undercover video was hired to be a carpenter but the job they ended up doing was moving dead calf bodies daily.

      At the press conference, the animal advocacy organization, Mercy For Me, said the animals should have been given pain killers before hurting them.The USDA says humane methods of handling animals and slaughtering them is a priority. Accordin to its website, a task force has already been established the standards for care and slaughter of animals.Pronews 7 has a crew at the cattle operation where we are interviewing the owner.

      Update 10:45aThe Castro County Sheriff's Office has confirmed the investigation is ongoing. A case report will be forwarded, once the investigation is complete, to the Castro County District/Attorney's Office for consideration for prosecution.The Sheriff's Office says it started the investigation when it received the video footage and a report from Mercy For Animls.

      Originally posted 8:00aIt's graphic, hidden-camera video and it was shot at a local factory. It reveals shocking and malicious cruelty to calves. It's video you simply won't believe.

      The undercover investigation was conducted by animal advocacy organization, Mercy For Animals. The investigation was during three weeks in March. The video shows calves being neglected, abused and bludgeoned to death with hammers and pickaxes. All of these violate Texas anti-cruelty laws.

      Castro County Sheriff's Office confirmed to Pronews 7 that they are currently investigating the situation. They said the case would be presented to the District Attorney in the near future.

      According to the release from Mercy For Animals, an undercover investigation at E6 Cattle Co. in Hart Texas, an investigator uncovered the following:

      Workers bludgeoning calves in their skulls with pickaxes and hammers - a killing practice condemned by the American Veterinary Medical Association 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 The budding horns of calves burned out of their skulls without painkillers

      E6 Cattle Co. is a factory farm which rears almost 10,000 calves for use on dairy farms. Kirt Espenson, owner, acknowledged on hidden camera that his company does not provide medical care to "crossbred" calves. This leaves many to die. Additionally, Espenson required his employees to bash in the skulls of calves with hammers.Pronews 7 attempted to contact the cattle operation but messages were not returned.

      "It is obvious that both the management and the employees have no regard for animal welfare," said world-renowned cattle expert Dr. Temple Grandin.

      A press conference with the organization is set up for 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. Pronews 7 will continue to follow this developing story and provide updates right here.

      WARNING: The following link has extremely graphic images in the video. Pronews 7 warns you to watch this video at your own discretion. It is not recommended for children.

      Mercy for Animals Undercover Video

      Location of E6 Cattle Co. in Castro County

      Join the conversation on Pronews 7's Facebook page! Here are some of the comments: Billie Jean Courtney - there needs to be something done about this. I cant beleive that someone could abuse an animal so cruely. These people need charges brought to them and let them see the severety of their crime. So so sad Carol Lesly - i just cannot believe the cruelty shown here. somebody needs to be held accountable. it did scar my heart. Betsy Parks - That is terrible. Couldn't get past the first calf that was beat
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