Hart, TX – Kirt Espenson, the owner of E6 Cattle Co., received a ruling yesterday stemming from cruelty-to-animals charges against him. The ruling related to hidden-camera evidence gathered earlier this year during an undercover investigation by Mercy For Animals, capturing workers bashing in the skulls of calves with pickaxes and hammers and neglecting calves to die from illness without proper veterinary care. Espenson received one-year probation and was ordered to pay a $4,000 fine, after the judge entered a deferred adjudication on the Class A Misdemeanor cruelty-to-animals charge.
Arturo Olmos, the E6 foreman, has been arrested and also faces a Class A Misdemeanor charge for Cruelty to Livestock. Five former employees of E6 Cattle are also facing charges of Cruelty to Livestock/Animals, a state jail felony. Those being charged are Manuel Soto, Christian Garcia, Daniel Dumas, Jose Martinez and Francisco Hernandez. However, all five workers have fled, 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,” said Mercy For Animals’ Executive Director Nathan Runkle. “This case should serve as a wake-up call to all compassionate citizens that Texas must do more to strengthen its animal cruelty laws.”
To view the undercover video, visit www.MercyForAnimals.org/Calves.