The E6 Cattle Company in Hart, Texas has various groups in an uproar after a video was released of workers abusing livestock. The video was secretly recorded over the span of two weeks and then posted online by an animal rights group called “Mercy for Animals.” In the video, men are shown violently striking sick calves with pickaxes and claw hammers. They’re also shown throwing, kicking, and stomping on the diseased animals. The video below obviously contains some content that can be disturbing, so if you’re easily upset, just take my word for it; these guys are definitely guilty of abuse.

Ranch Workers abuse cattle in Hart, tx.

The owner of E6 Cattle, Kirt Espenson, says he takes full responsibility for his workers actions and expresses embarrassment and disappointment towards their actions. Espenson told KMAC 28 news "Every part of that video I find appalling and I find saddening, and words cannot describe the remorse that I feel for the disrespect that I brought to my industry…I want to be a good representation for the industries that we serve and the people we provide services to."

The workers admit in the video that they neglected to provide proper medical care to the calves. They also say they left them in small, filthy pens to die. The employees on the tape have since been fired. Espenson said the men had not been trained on how to properly euthanize animals, but I’m pretty sure most people understand bludgeoning a sick animal to death isn’t exactly protocol.

Agriculture organizations across the state expressed their disgust with the video footage, and released a statement today condemning the abuse suffered by the sick calves.

The Texas livestock and agriculture organizations listed below 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.

The release is signed by DairyMax, Independent Cattlemen's Association of Texas, Livestock Marketing 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.

A criminal investigation has been launched by the Castro County Sheriff’s Office. From what the video shows, a walk-through of that ranch could be enough proof for a lot of people that those animals weren’t kept in proper conditions. I won’t jump to conclusions and say Espenson knew exactly what was going on at his ranch, but you would think an owner would at least be aware of the poor condition those calves were in. The workers knew they weren’t properly or responsibly caring for those calves, and I’d bet higher authorities allowed them to continue that treatment. As the ag organizations release says, good care and treatment isn’t an option, it’s an obligation.

I’m glad an investigation is being conducted to square away what exactly happened at the ranch instead of leaving the judgment up to an internet video. Hopefully they can get to the bottom of what happened and bring E6 up to the responsible standard set for Texas ranchers.