Warning: contains images some people may find distressing.
The New Zealand dairy industry is under fire after animal rights group Farmwatch uploaded a video with horrifying footage of animal cruelty.
The video shows farmers throwing young dairy calves (bobby calves) into trucks by their ankles, hitting them in the head with hammers, dragging them across the ground, and hurling them into piles marked "casualty calves." Blood is present throughout the video, painting the floors and dripping from boxes filled with dead calves.
Parts of the video, which was filmed in secret by the animal rights group, were broadcast on New Zealand's Sunday program over the weekend. At the time, New Zealand's DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle told the program the practices were not condoned by the industry.
"We are shocked, and farmers are too," he said. "We will be asking questions of everyone involved. Farmers don't see what goes on when calves leave their farm and we need to be holding the transport operators and processing plants to account to ensure bad practices get stamped out of our industry."
Acting prime minister Bill English said the issue "must be investigated."
John Darroch, who was part of the Farmwatch investigation, told BuzzFeed News the entire organisation was shocked and disappointed by the footage.
"We have shown the inherent cruelty in the dairy industry which requires baby calves to be taken from their mothers in order for milk to be produced," he said.
"Our footage was filmed throughout Waikato and in the lower north island [of New Zealand]. In total we filmed over thirty farms, documenting a wide range of practices such as cows being born into muddy paddocks without shelter, calves being separated from their mothers and calves being placed into crates on the side of the road."
"Not once during our investigation did we see calves being treated with care," he said.
You can watch the entire Farmwatch video here, and read more on the investigation.
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
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