Once again a farm randomly chosen for investigation by Chicago-based Mercy for Animals has revealed stomach-turning cruelty.
Once again Big Food is “appalled” by the video — which shows sick and injured calves killed with hammers, workers standing on calves’ necks and barely alive calves on “dead piles” — while working to make publicizing such videos illegal.
And once again farm owners blame employees and play innocent, while video clearly shows them sanctioning the violence and verifying that the suffering crossbreed calves depicted should get no medical care.
Like most factory farm owners whose operations have been investigated by Mercy For Animals, Kirt Espenson, owner of the 10,000 calf E-6 Cattle Company in Hart, TX, both denies condoning the abuse and defends it.
The animals denied medical care for their open sores, swollen joints and severed hooves are actually E-6 Cattle Company’s wholesome meat initiative he says: they were not given medicine so that people wouldn’t get drug residues! (And the ones not going to be eaten by people are given drug$? Right!)
Many others were sick from the cold weather and had to be eliminated, says Espenson — as if cold weather were an untreatable disease and sentient mammals are a walnut crop.
While Big Food, law enforcement officials and government regulators continue to view videos like E-6 as isolated events, no farm that Mercy For Animals has investigated has lacked such atrocities. From the DeCoster egg farms, finally investigated by Congress, to the Hy-Line Hatchery in Spencer, Iowa where newborn male chicks are ground up alive, to the Conklin Dairy Farms in Plain City, Ohio where cows are stabbed with pitchforks, Mercy For Animals continues to show that abuse is the order of the day when animals are nothing but economic units.
Nor do perpetrators pay. No charges were filed against the Conklin Dairy owner, Gary Conklin, for example, because “in context, Mr. Conklin’s actions were entirely appropriate,” said Union County prosecuting attorney David Phillips.
While condemning animal cruelty depicted in videos like this week’s and stressing that welfare guidelines exist, Big Food is also currently trying to make such videos, shot by undercover employees, illegal. After the E-6 video broke, June delivery for live cattle at the Chicago Mercantile exchange fell to $1.15 per pound, down over one percent. That’s real money.