ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Undercover video showing workers at a southern New Mexico dairy farm whipping cows with chains and wire cables and kicking and punching the animals has led to a state investigation into possible animal cruelty violations.
This particular dairy farm provides milk to Leprino Foods, which is headquartered in Denver.
The New Mexico Livestock Board confirms it has launched an investigation into the practices at the Winchester Dairy near Dexter.
The group Mercy for Animals presented the video footage to the livestock agency last Thursday. A compilation of clips that showed the abuse was released during a news conference Wednesday in Albuquerque. The video showed employees at the farm hitting cows with chains, throwing calves into trucks and using tractors to push cattle into trailers, among other haunting images.
Watch the disturbing video here (warning: this video will be extremely disturbing to some): http://bit.ly/ZqjQbF.
An employee with Mercy for Animals started the four-week-long investigation at the beginning of August.
In a statement, the dairy said animal care and well-being are central to its operations:
"At Winchester Dairy, animal care and well-being is central to our operations. Upon reviewing the footage of the animal abuse at our farm, Winchester immediately initiated an internal investigation and, in response, have:
- Terminated all employees and referred the abusive employees to law enforcement for further review;
- Dispersed the farm's dairy cows to other dairy farms with strong track records in animal welfare within hours of the video being received;
- Stopped shipment of the farm's milk to all vendors;
- Closed the farm's operations, effective immediately.
We remain committed to the ethical and responsible treatment of the animals and have learned from this incident."
Leprino Foods released the following statement:
"We care deeply about the health and welfare of the animals on the farms that supply our milk. Leprino Foods was informed last week about the alleged abuse on one of these dairies. We take these situations extremely seriously and are saddened by these events ... All shipments from that farm were terminated immediately. Leprino Foods is not receiving any milk from this operation."
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation with The Associated Press)