Undercover video captured by Mercy For Animals Canada has revealed shocking conditions at a veal farm in Quebec.

A member of the animal-rights group worked at the farm in Pont-Rouge for nearly two months from December 2013 to February 2014. The employee took video that shows calves chained up in wooden crates so narrow that the animals cannot turn around

The video also shows workers violently abusing animals and the killing of one calf with a rifle. After the animal does not immediately die, the worker finishes it off with another bullet.

A criminal investigation has been launched to probe the alleged cruelty at the facility, according to the group.

Veal is the meat from young cows that have generally been raised on a milk diet. Exercise is often limited or eliminated completely in order to ensure a tender and light-coloured final product.

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The dairy industry and the veal industry are closely linked. Female cows must be kept impregnated in order for them to yield milk, but the male calves they produce are of no use to their owners. Consequently, they are often sold to veal producers.

The company Délimax Veal, a large Quebec producers, delivers animals to the Pont Rouge farm and picks them up for slaughter. The company does not own the Pont-Rouge farm.

Délimax owner Fabien Fontaine told W5 that the behaviour captured in the video is "sickening and unacceptable" but said the future of veal in Quebec will be more humane. He touted a new Délimax facility in Drummonville where calves are raised together in larger pens. He said such facilities will be the standard in Quebec by 2018.

Mercy for Animals Canada has been successful at triggering change in the past. The organization was pivotal in securing a recent Canada-wide ban on gestation crates in which pigs are unable to turn around.

"Science and common sense tell us that animals with legs should be given at least enough room to walk and exercise,” said Twyla Francois, Mercy For Animals's director of investigations in Canada. “The Canadian veal industry treats baby calves like mere meat-producing machines. Their short lives are filled with misery, violence, and deprivation."

The animal-rights group is calling on the Retail Council of Canada, which represents grocery stores, to eliminate operations like the Pont-Rouge farm from its members' supply chains. Costco, Metro, Sobeys and Loblaw have already signed on to the plan.

Mercy for Animals Canada also recently uncovered that the Maple Leaf Foods-owned Horizon Poultry plant in Hanover, Ontario, is both boiling and grinding up chicks while they are still alive. The video has already led to at least one firing at the plant, but grinding up living animals in a macerator remains an accepted industry practice.

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  • Fowl Are Often "Debeaked" To Avoid Cannibalism

    According to the USDA, <a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=7&ved=0CGQQFjAG&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ers.usda.gov%2FersDownloadHandler.ashx%3Ffile%3D%2Fmedia%2F984422%2Fldpm223.pdf&ei=HJIgU6D4D-ew2gXQlIDYAg&usg=AFQjCNHiZcgj58B0yNWC9hyjayZAKbcLew&bvm=bv.62788935,d.b2I&cad=rja" target="_blank">36.8 billion pounds of broiler chicken were raised and killed</a> for consumption in 2013. Since these animals live in such close quarters, some farm operators remove the beaks of chickens, turkeys and ducks to keep them from pecking one another to death, often by burning or cutting the beaks off. Although a number of scientists claim that this practice does not cause the animals too much pain, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1167019/" target="_blank">a significant portion of them die throughout the ordeal</a>. <br/> <br/> Despite the mass amounts of chicken, turkey and ducks we consume annually, fowl are exempt from the <a href="https://awic.nal.usda.gov/government-and-professional-resources/federal-laws/humane-methods-slaughter-act" target="_blank">Humane Slaughter Act</a>. This means that unlike the mammals we consume, chickens can be killed however the farm owner sees fit.

  • Most Antibiotics In The World Go Straight Into Your Meat

    In 2011, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/opinion/antibiotics-and-the-meat-we-eat.html" target="_blank">more than 80 percent of antibiotics produced were fed to livestock.</a> Although some of these drugs were necessary to keep animals healthy in conditions that would otherwise make them sick, like living on top of one another's waste, most of it was specifically administered to artificially increase rapid growth. <br/> <br/> While it may seem like these drugs could be inadvertently protecting consumers from disease, they are actually contributing to the terrifying rise of <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwHapgrF99A" target="_blank">superbugs -- deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria</a> that thrive and multiply in the absence of weaker microbes.

  • Pneumonia Runs Rampant In Factory Farmed Pigs

    According to one study, <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240832/" target="_blank">65 percent of all hogs tested had pneumonia-like lesions on their lungs</a>. Researchers believe this is due to ammonia and other gases released from the massive amounts of manure that the animals come into contact with every day.

  • Millions Of Chicks Are Ground Up Alive The Day They Hatch

    In 2009, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/01/chicks-being-ground-up-al_n_273652.html" target="_blank">Mercy For Animals went undercover at a Hy-Line Iowa egg factory</a> and discovered that baby chickens who were of no egg-laying use to the buyers (read: male chicks), were put on a conveyor belt and sent directly to a grinder. <br/> <br/> Hy-Line defended this practice by <a href="http://blogs.discovery.com/animal_news/2009/09/horrific-egg-industry-grinds-millions-of-baby-chicks-alive.html" target="_blank">insisting that it was industry standard</a>.

  • Many Cows Die Before Their Fifth Birthday

    While <a href="http://www.takepart.com/article/2012/04/12/5-things-you-dont-know-about-dairy-industry" target="_blank">cows can live naturally to about twenty years old</a>, many dairy cows living in factory farms are sent to slaughter before they reach the age of five. Though <a href="http://www.epa.gov/oecaagct/ag101/dairyphases.html" target="_blank">cows can naturally remain productive for 12-15 years</a>, the intensive conditions of industrial dairies can take a toll on their health.

  • Pregnant Hogs Live In Disgustingly Small Crates

    Every year, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/06/pregnant-sows-gestation-crates-abuse" target="_blank">millions of sows are kept in cages called "gestation crates,"</a> a cost-cutting measure that keeps the pregnant pigs immobilized. The concrete floors beneath the crates are often slatted so that manure can just slip through into huge pits. After spending a full four-month pregnancy in these gestation crates, the sows often suffer from abscesses, sores and ulcers. However, even when the pigs are released from the crates, they are not living a comfortable life: The uneven floors of the hog houses have <a href="http://www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/factoryfarm.cfm" target="_blank">been proven to cause leg and feet</a> deformities.

  • Veal Calves Are Saddled With Heavy Chains

    <a href="http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/confinement_farm/facts/veal.html" target="_blank">Notoriously mistreated</a>, veal calves are often forced to wear heavy chains to keep them from becoming <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240832/" target="_blank">overactive in their stalls</a>. The calves are also kept in near or total darkness and suffer from forced anemia, for no reason other than to keep their flesh pale and attractive.

  • Many Fowl Are Stuffed Into Unimaginably Small Cages

    "Battery cages," the common living space for more than 90 percent of egg-laying hens in America, provide as little <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1240832/" target="_blank">as 0.6 square feet of space per hen</a>. That is smaller than <a href="http://www.aspca.org/fight-cruelty/farm-animal-cruelty/birds-factory-farms" target="_blank">a regular sized sheet of paper</a>.

  • 82% Of U.S. Dairies Practice 'Tail Docking'

    Citing health reasons and worker comfort, a majority of U.S. farms practice <a href="https://www.avma.org/kb/resources/backgrounders/pages/welfare-implications-of-tail-docking-of-cattle.aspx" target="_blank">tail docking, the act of removing the tails of livestock by burning, emasculating, or constricting the tail with an elastic band</a>. This practice causes pain, stress, and sometimes infection in the cows, which is why it has been outlawed in a number of countries, such as New Zealand. However, California is the only U.S. state where tail docking is illegal.