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Colorado Sheriff Charges Three Men With Animal Abuse After Seeing Video

Three men working at the Quanah Cattle Company about 60 miles north of Denver were charged with animal cruelty on Friday by Weld County Sheriff John Cooke. If convicted, each man will be jailed for six to 18 months and fined $500 to $5,000. The three local men also lost their jobs.

They are charged with animal abuse as documented by an undercover video producer working for Compassion Over Killing, a national animal-rights group. The video shows the accused men kicking and tossing young calves off a trailer, and it was quickly condemned by animal experts in industry and academia. Colorado’s dairy and livestock industries condemned the abuse even before Cooke’s deputies completed their investigation.

Sheriff Cooke, who went from 20 years on a dairy farm to a career in law enforcement, told a press conference that his reaction to seeing the video was one of “shock,” and that he personally found the treatment of the calves “totally unacceptable.”

The Greeley Tribune reports the three accused men were hired by Quanah through an unnamed temporary agency. Prior to the incident, Weld County’s farm and ranch community has complained about the difficulty it has in attracting qualified employees while the area is also in the midst of an oil-and-gas boom.

In addition to firing the three suspects, J.D. Heiskell & Co., the California-based owner of the Quanah Cattle Company, issued a statement saying the firm was “dismayed” by the images and promising to step up supervision and training of its employees. Its new Weld County operation is permitted to handle up to 15,000 head in the Holstein calf-raising facility.

The three men being charged are Larry Loma, 32, from Greeley; Ernesto Daniel Valenzuela-Alvarez, 34, of Easton, and Tomas Cerda, 33, of Greeley.

© Food Safety News
  • Riverdivine

    Glad to hear that animal abuse/cruelty in CO is being taken seriously, and these men reap some (though not enough) consequences to their actions; the factory farming industry is abusive/torturous enough without sick men getting away with perpetrating violence on innocent, defenseless animals.
    Relatedly, the Ag-Gag laws in some states protecting abusers has to be one of the most hideous laws I’ve ever heard of; and those who defend these laws are just as hideous.

  • Guest

    This is another example of why it is so important to a) understand all the effects of ag-gag laws (they prevent on-farm investigations like the one conducted by Compassion Over Killing and featured in this article) and b) encourage your state legislature to reject ag-gag laws if one is proposed in your state.

  • Jacob

    I agree with Both of you

  • Drewid
  • Bonnie Towles

    15,000 calves at a holding facility? The immense size of these operations and their “agribusiness” mentality means that all the poor young calves within their absurd operations are treated as products, not sentient creatures. Calves suffer from the moment they are torn from their mothers, trucked within days of birth, then confined into these godforsaken hell holes – out of site of those who eventually order “veal” or “beef” or buy hygienic cellophane wrapped body parts from their grocers. As for firing a few workers and “training” others … as one other commenter noted … it does not take training to know what constitutes abuse. That agri-business and their bought and paid for state legislators are enacting laws to block whistle blowers and seeking to intimidate them via frivolous law suits – it is infuriating, shameful and antithetical to all that is just.