By: Victor Malarek CTV W5 Senior Reporter, Published on Sat Apr 19 2014
Baby calves, just weeks old, are kicked, punched, slapped and yelled at by barn employees. Some are grabbed by the testicles to force them into narrow wooden stalls. Several lie gasping for air on slats stained with urine and feces.
These are among the disturbing images revealed in undercover video footage shot by Mercy for Animals Canada, an anti-cruelty animal activist group, at a milk-fed-veal complex in Pont Rouge, outside Quebec City. It was obtained by CTV’s W5 as part of its investigative report on the Quebec veal industry.
At the Pont-Rouge barn, about 800 calves are subjected to harsh treatment and inhumane confinement for the entire 18 to 20 weeks of their short lives, the undercover investigation reveals. They are housed in crates so narrow they can’t turn around or lie down comfortably. Many are tethered by chains around their necks.
The crates, most of which are no more than 49 centimetres wide, are designed to prohibit exercise and normal muscle growth in order to produce tender veal. The calves are fed a milk-substitute diet deliberately low in iron so their flesh will stay pale.The calves don’t go outside to play, breathe fresh air, clean themselves or bond with their mothers. They never see sunlight, the Mercy for Animals investigator says. Most of their time in the barn is spent in the dark.