An animal advocacy group recently went undercover into a Colorado livestock company and shot a video that they say shows workers abusing newborn calves. WARNING: Video is graphic, some viewers may find it difficult to watch.
Called Compassion Over Killing, the nonprofit group that posted the video which they say was shot at Quanah Cattle Co. in Kersey, Colo., describes itself as an "animal advocacy organization" that is "working to end animal abuse" and "promotes vegetarian eating."
The video appears to depict workers kicking calves and dragging them by the ears, legs and tails -- treatment that the U.S. Department of Agriculture explicitly prohibits, though this kind of facility is not regulated by the USDA, according to KDVR.
The video also shows images of dead calves.
"Just days old, many of these calves -- some of whom still have their umbilical cords hanging from their bodies -- are too feeble or frightened to walk steadily," Compassion Over Killing says in a press statement. "As our footage shows, in the process of being moved on and off trucks, these fragile animals are violently dragged by their legs, pulled by their ears, lifted by their tails, kicked, thrown, slammed, and flipped."
The allegations are now under investigation by the Weld County Sheriff's Office.
9News spoke with animal handling expert Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University who described the treatment of the animals as "rough handling" and "not acceptable."
Grandin added: "If this facility had been a slaughter plant, the USDA would have shut them down."
The Fresno Bee reports that Quanah, which is based in Colorado, is owned by J.D. Heiskell & Co., a feed company based in Tulare, Calif. Heiskell's website describes Quanah as a "bull calf operation" that the company opened in 2012.
According to its website, J.D. Heiskell & Co. was founded in 1886 and is a fourth-generation family-owned business. The Business Journal notes that it is the fourth-largest feed manufacturing company by volume in the United States.
Calls to Quanah and Heiskell & Co. were not immediately returned and neither organization has released an official statement about the allegations at the time of publication.
Robert Hodgen, a Quanah manager, did speak to KDVR and said that he has was "unaware" of the treatment, but as soon as he saw the video he took immediate action and has launched his own investigation.