See Shocking Video of Colorado Workers Stabbing, Beating Dairy Cows

Last night, California-based Mercy for Animals released an undercover video shot at Cactus Acres Holsteins in Fort Morgan.

The clip, on view below, shows Cactus Acres workers beating, kicking and even stabbing dairy cows.

A number of workers have reportedly been fired over the actions seen in the video, and an investigation by local law enforcement is underway.

There's no guarantee that the inquiry will result in arrests, however. A previous Mercy for Animals video shot at a pig farm in Phillips led to sackings, too — but no criminal charges were filed.

Here's the pig farm video, made public in May and accessed via the Denver Post; the version of YouTube requires users to offer proof of age. Warning: The content of this video, and the one that follows, may disturb some viewers.

Seven people were fired at the Seaboard Foods farm after the video was circulated. However, the Phillips County Sheriff's Office ultimately declined to file charges, determining that the actions didn't rise to the level of criminality.

The latest case is part of Misery for Animals' focus on the dairy industry, for reasons outlined in the following website passage, which appears under the heading "Stealing Milk From Babies:"
The dairy industry is inherently cruel. Cows, like all mammals, must be pregnant or nursing in order to produce milk. So, the dairy industry keeps these animals in a constant cycle of pregnancy and lactation. Selective breeding and artificial hormones are often used to force cows to produce up to 10 times as much milk as they would naturally.

After only a few years, a dairy cow’s body is so worn out from repeated pregnancies and unnaturally high milk production that she is considered “spent” and is sold for slaughter. Most dairy cows end up being killed for hamburger meat.

Because cows are kept in a constant cycle of pregnancy, a lot of baby calves are born into the dairy industry. These animals are ripped away from their mothers almost immediately after they are born and are typically fed an artificial milk replacer so that all of their mothers’ milk can be sold for profit.

Female calves are either slaughtered for beef or grown out and used as replacements for the “spent” cows in the dairy herd. Since males will never produce milk, they are usually sold for veal. These calves are crammed into tiny wooden boxes, often chained by the neck, unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably for months until they are killed.

A release about the latest incident, prompted by a press availability taking place later today in Denver, notes that Mercy for Animals' hidden-camera footage from Cactus Acres shows workers "viciously punching, kicking, beating, and stabbing cows." The release adds:
MFA’s investigator reported the abuses to Cactus Acres management and quickly contacted local law enforcement authorities and presented them with a detailed legal complaint and the undercover video footage. MFA is calling on the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office to take swift and decisive action in pursuing justice for these abused and exploited animals.
In a statement released to the Post, Jim and Marie Goedert, owners of the facility, write: "We are appalled that these incidents took place here, and have taken disciplinary action against all of the employees involved, including several prior to our knowledge of the video as part of our normal dairy management. We take great pride in our family farm and in the care we provide to our animals."

We don't yet know how many workers have been dismissed at Cactus Acres — but the Morgan County Sheriff's Office has begun an investigation. Here's the video.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts