Army faces questions over sheep beating video

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Animal rights advocates are calling for the U.S. Army to investigate an Internet video purportedly showing a soldier in Afghanistan beating a sheep to death with a baseball bat, as his comrades cheer and laugh.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote to Army Secretary John McHugh and senior Army officers asking for an investigation in November, after the video first came to their attention.

The group posted the letter and video online over the weekend, saying they had received no response from the Pentagon.

Army spokesmen Tuesday evening did not respond to email and telephone messages requesting comment.

In the 30-second video, a young boy leads the sheep into a concrete room or hanger. A man in civilian clothing strikes it repeatedly on and about the head with a metal baseball bat. A half dozen other men in U.S. Army fatigues cheer, laugh and whoop. There are no unit badges or other identifying details visible in the video.

A caption accompanying the original Internet clip stated that the images were recorded in Afghanistan in early November and that the man attacking the sheep is also a soldier. PETA officials said they could not verify who made the video or where it was shot.

“Gratuitous cruelty to animals, especially when it gives pleasure to the perpetrator, is an indicator of other anti-social problems that need to be taken most seriously,” wrote PETA President Ingrid Newkirk on the group’s website.

Marine Corps and Pentagon officials have spent nearly a week dealing with the fallout from a video that appears to show four snipers of the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines, urinating on corpses. Investigators said last week they have identified the four men and are considering charges against them.

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