Mercy for Animals exposed hidden camera footage of blatant animal abuse at the E-6 Ranch Cattle Company. Since then, the Castro County Sheriff's office has launched an animal cruelty investigation.
But that gruesome video of calves being killed with a hammer and pickaxe has also contributed to a drop in the financial markets.
Reuters reports that some traders in Chicago thought investors sold cattle futures Wednesday due to the fear consumers would avoid beef products because of the disturbing video. But analysts said they doubt that they will have lasting effects, and its other reasons why the price is fluctuating.
So we went out to the weekly cattle auction to see exactly what's happening with the price slump in cattle futures.
"30 years ago everybody that farmed had 10 to 15 cows. Now the younger generation that farms don't have cows like that," said Bill Cox, Cox Livestock owner.
The June delivery for live cattle fell to $1.15 per pound. That's down nearly $1.28 and 1.09 percent on the Chicago Mercantile exchange. Before that, the cattle market was at an all time high. And there were expectations for the price per pound to reach $1.20.
"But the futures started going down this morning and I'm sure a lot of people were selling them, which caused them to go down. And the people who have their cattle hedge could get out with $1.19 with little or no loss," said Cox.
This year cattle futures continue to fall as pastures decline. That's because of the extreme drought in Texas, which is the largest U.S. producer of cattle.
"Because of the drought and everything, we've killed a lot of cows the last five, six, seven years. And the cow numbers are way down," said Cox.
Even worse, grain prices are soaring and fires near some pastures are killing any land the cattle feed off of.
"Fires burned up all the grass and people don't have a choice but to sell the cows," said Cox.
But there are still high hopes for cattle futures to climb, once the beef demand goes back up and the rain brings some relief. And it's not all bad news the lower price cattle should temporarily provide lower prices for consumers at the grocery store.
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