This morning, Kirt Espenson, owner of E6 Cattle Company in Texas, was handed down one-year probation and ordered to pay a $4,000 fine after the judge entered a deferred adjudication on the Class A Misdemeanor cruelty-to-animals charge. The sentence stems from chilling evidence gathered earlier this year during an MFA undercover investigation that captured on hidden camera workers bashing in the skulls of calves with hammers and pickaxes, dragging them by their ears, standing on their necks, and neglecting them to die without proper veterinary care.
Arturo Olmos, the E6 foreman, has been arrested on misdemeanor animal cruelty charges, and five former employees of E6 Cattle are facing felony-level charges of cruelty to animals. All five workers have fled, however, and have yet to be arrested.
During the undercover investigation at E6 Cattle Co. in Hart, Texas - a factory farm that rears nearly 10,000 calves for use on dairy farms - MFA's investigator documented:
- Workers bludgeoning calves in their skulls with pickaxes and hammers
- 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
Espenson's punishment is a slap on the wrist compared to the unimaginable suffering endured by the animals who were victims of malicious abuse and neglect under his watch. This case should serve as a wake-up call to all compassionate citizens that Texas must do more to strengthen its animal cruelty laws.
While the conviction signals some progress for farmed animals, compassionate consumers nationwide can prevent cruelty to animals at each meal by adopting a vegan diet.