Criminal Animal Cruelty Charges Against Colorado Company

Contact: or 301-891-2458
For immediate release: November 13, 2013

Denver, CO — Compassion Over Killing (COK), a national animal protection organization, today released an undercover video from inside a Colorado agribusiness facility which reveals the cruel and inhumane treatment of dairy calves who are just days old. The footage depicts egregious abuse including young animals—some of whom still have their umbilical cords hanging from their bodies—being violently dragged by their ears and legs, lifted by their tails, kicked, thrown, slammed, and flipped.

“Our investigation reveals shocking cruelty to young calves that we believe clearly violates Colorado’s animal protection laws.” said Erica Meier, Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing. “We’re calling on local authorities to file charges, making it clear such egregious animal abuse is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

Animal handling expert Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University decried the cruelty seen in the video, calling it “severe abuse,” and noting that “If this facility had been a slaughter plant, the USDA would have shut them down.”

The video was recently taken by a COK investigator while working at Quanah Cattle Co., a Colorado calf-raising facility owned by J.D. Heiskell & Co. (a large commodity trading and livestock feed manufacturing company).

The Weld County Sherriff’s Office is taking the allegations seriously, and have already initiated an independent investigation into the abuses at this facility.

Purchased from nearby dairy factories, most of these calves are male and are considered “unwanted by-products” since they’re unable to produce milk. They’ll be confined in crates or hutches for around a week and then sold and raised for their meat. Marketed as veal or beef, depending on their age when slaughtered, these young animals are the often forgotten victims of the dairy industry.

“The meat and dairy industries are desperate to keep Americans in the dark about their routine abuse of animals,” said Meier. “Once consumers discover the painful reality of how violently farmed animals are typically treated, it’s impossible to turn a blind eye—and leaving meat and milk out of our diets is an easy way to prevent such cruelty.”

Even more disturbing, violent acts like those captured on this film are commonplace in the dairy and meat industry—occurring in facilities nationwide, with little to no oversight.

Whistleblowing exposés like this are often the only glimpse the public ever sees of the systemic mistreatment of farmed animals. Rather than taking steps to prevent these abuses, animal agribusiness is trying to prevent consumers from finding out about them by lobbying for “ag-gag” laws that would  criminalize undercover investigations—and the mere exposure of the truth.

For more information, including investigative footage, visit:


Compassion Over Killing (COK) is a national nonprofit animal protection organization based in Washington, D.C. Since 1995, COK has worked to end the abuse of animals in agriculture through undercover investigations, public outreach, litigation, and other advocacy programs. COK is on the web at