Taylor Radig, a contractor for Compassion Over Killing, an animal welfare special interest group, filmed three workers mishandling calves at Quanah Cattle Company in Kersey, Colo. The three men were cited for a Class 1 misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty, and they were fired from their jobs. Radig was also cited for misdemeanor animal cruelty for failure to report the alleged abuse in a timely manner.
"Radig filmed the alleged animal abuses at Quanah Cattle Company where she worked as a temporary employee from mid-July through September of 2013," Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said in a written statement. "During her employment at Quanah, Radig compiled many hours of animal abuse footage that was collected on an “as needed basis” The video footage was eventually provided to law enforcement by representatives of Compassion Over Killing approximately two months after Radig’s employment ended with Quanah Cattle Company."
Cooke said Radig's failure to report the alleged abuse in a timely manner "adheres to the definition of acting with negligence and substantiates the charge of animal cruelty." The investigation is ongoing.
Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing, said the Weld County Sheriff’s Office chose to retaliate against Radig and that “witnessing others abusing animals is not a crime, and our investigator was working cooperatively with local authorities on this case prior to this baseless accusation.
“After our legal team meticulously and extensively researched the law and reviewed all of our evidence to demonstrate a pattern of abuse to support our claims, we presented a strong case to authorities revealing abusive and illegal activities that would have otherwise continued unabated. Again, our investigator merely witnessed others committing abuse,” Meier added.
Meier said the charge against Radig was politically motivated and unsupported by law.
“Undermining the integrity of the legal system, this shoot-the-messenger strategy is aimed at detracting attention away from the crimes of those who actually abused animals,” she said.
Larry Loma, Ernesto Daniel Valenzuela-Alvarez and Tomas Cerda were previously cited in the case. The charges could result in six to 18 months in jail and a $500 to $5,000 fine, according to local news reports.
Quanah is owned by Tulare, Calif.-based J.D. Heiskell & Co., a privately owned feed company with operations in 12 states.