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Video: Alleged animal abuse at farm causes controversy

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Posted at 7:20 PM, Dec 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-10 21:20:03-05

WARNING: This video may contain content some viewers find disturbing.

From Matt Smith via CNN

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. -- The massive Wiese Brothers Farm spans several acres in rural Brown County. Inside between October 4th and November 15th,  the nonprofit Mercy for Animals says it recorded workers beating, stabbing and dragging cows far beyond routine farm practices.

The lengthier video from Mercy for Animals, WARNING: it depicts graphic footage and includes profanity, can be viewed here.

Mercy for Animals then sent clips of the hidden-camera video to the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

"We reviewed it, we made a determination that this was something that we should investigate,” said Capt. David Konrath of the Brown County Sheriff’s Department.

Konrath said investigators are working with a number of veterinarians and that it's too early in the investigation to know whether criminal charges will be recommended.

Not denying what's seen in the video, today the Wiese family released a lengthy statement saying they're shocked and saddened to see a few of their employees not following farm policy on animal care.

The statement adds two employees have been fired and another will no longer work with animals. Beyond that the family says the farm underwent an independent review after seeing the video and that employees will sometimes be shadowed without notice.

In a statement, Nestlé USA, which owns DiGiorno brand frozen pizza, said: "Nestlé is outraged and deeply saddened by the mistreatment of animals shown in this video. We buy cheese from Foremost Farms (of Baraboo) which gets milk from the Wiese Brothers' Farm. However, we do expect all of our suppliers and their suppliers to meet our stringent guidelines. We have advised Foremost Farms that we will not accept any cheese made with milk from the Wiese Brothers' Farm."