Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson has thanked two butchers for “the reality check” after they claimed aliens were mutilating American cattle.

Otherwise known as “The Beard Butchers”, brothers Seth and Scott Perkins told Carlson in an episode of Tucker Carlson Originals, his documentary series, about the claims.

“If these animals had been found with these pieces surgically removed, and you know, not making a lot of hack marks when you’re cutting, somebody knows what they’re doing,” said Seth in a teaser for the episode, which was released at the weekend.

“If this is true the prevailing theory seems to be that it’s some sort of extraterrestrial activity,” added Scott of the claims that cattle in New Mexico were being found “mutilated”.

“Just given the fact there is a lack of evidence at the scene, because one of the things that we employ in our shop is heavy equipment, we’ve got hoists and things,” he added of the challenges around butchering an adult-sized bull.

“If you’ve got a bull it could be 2,000 to 2,500 lbs and even if you have an animal in the field and you just want to get to the other side to remove a part of it, it’s very difficult because you need a lot of leverage to move it around,” Scott told Carlson. “I’m not sure I want to find the person or the being that performed this”.

Asked if he agreed about the involvement of extraterritorials, Seth said: “I don’t think a human would do the extra work, to perform these tasks, why would you?”

The brothers also highlighted that there was a shortage of highly skilled butchers in the US.

“Thank you for the reality check,” Carlson said at the end of the interview. “Based on the evidence I think you put it really clearly”.

While the claims instantly found their way onto to social media on Sunday, reports of cattle in the American midwest getting “mutilated” have been around since the 1970s.

An article published in the academic journal Agricultural History in 2011 identified the source of those claims as dissatisfaction amongst ranch holders with the federal government and economic conditions at the time.

“This conspiracy was a thing when I was a kid, growing up in the West in the 1970s”, one Twitter user wrote of the Carlson clip. “Same s***, different century.”

“ ‘Thank you for the reality check,’ says the guy trying to convince his audience that space aliens are mutilating cows,” author Scott Santens added. “Tucker is feeding butchered meat to his conspiracy-fueled anti-vax infected audience to further erode trust in science and further stoke fears and anxiety.”

It was not clear when the full episode will air on Fox Nation.