MORGAN COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office is investigating claims of animal abuse at a northern Colorado dairy farm after an animal rights group released video from its undercover investigation.
A member of Mercy For Animals went undercover for nearly two months as an employee at the Cactus Acres Farm in Fort Morgan. The individual was able to shoot video showing employees repeatedly abusing cattle, at times kicking and even stabbing the animals.
Cactus Acres Farm said they fired the employees involved as soon as they were made aware what was happening, which according to the sheriff includes six people.
Investigators are in the process of reviewing all video from the dairy, both undercover and surveillance. The footage is graphic and hard to watch.
“If it weren’t for our undercover investigator, we believe these types of abuses would be continuing to this day,” said Matt Rice of Mercy For Animals.
That footage has prompted a criminal investigation by the sheriff’s office.
Monica Massey, a representative of Dairy Farmers of America, is now working alongside the owners of Cactus Acres. She says anyone believed to be involved has been let go.
Massey also raised concerns about why no one was made aware of the abuse until the investigation was over, nearly two months after.
“Make no mistake we have zero tolerance for animal abuse, but something else we have zero tolerance for is the manipulative practices of extremist organizations that are coming onto our dairy farms, and inciting this abuse…and recording it and not reporting it, that is unacceptable,” said Massey.
Rice and his group claim their investigator went to management and even law enforcement early on, but nothing was done.
“I think what they’re trying to do is shoot the messenger rather than really address the problem here,” he said.
In a statement, family of the dairy owners said, “While we take full responsibility for the activities on our farm, we find ourselves saddened that these actions were not immediately brought to our attention.”
CBS4 spoke with the Morgan County sheriff who says he was not made aware of any abuse until the Mercy For Animal investigation was over.
DFA also says the dairy had their own security video, and they claim to have captured the undercover investigator abusing the animals. They plan to press charges as well, and said they cannot release that video until the investigation is over.