Somerset

Secret filming shows calves at Somerset farm being punched and kicked

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An investigation has been launched after undercover filming at a dairy farm showed cows and calves being punched and kicked.

The footage was gathered at Pyrland Farm in Taunton, Somerset by animal rights group Animal Equality.

The RSPCA said it was "concerned" by the footage, and it was investigating.

The farm's owner said he was "appalled" and had now sacked the farmhand shown hitting the animals, but denied there were any welfare issues on the farm.

Toni Shephard from Animal Equality UK said the campaign group installed a camera at the farm on 7 December following a tip-off from a local resident.

"To see tiny calves and cows who had just given birth being punched and kicked and sworn at in such an aggressive manner, I found really shocking."

Farmer James Read said he felt "physically sick" and was "very upset" after seeing the video.

"We were really appalled by the behaviour of the young apprentice. He's since been dismissed.

"The rest of the staff here on the farm are really upset. We take great pride in our dairy herd."

An RSPCA spokeswoman said: "We are concerned about the content of the footage sent to us and are currently investigating."

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