UK's Devon slaughterhouse faces an investigation by the Food Standards Agency (FSA)
Workers at an abattoir run by PJ Hayman & Sons were filmed attacking cows with what appeared to be a pipe and slamming a gate closed on the neck of another animal.
At one point a cow can be seen trying to escape from staff at the slaughterhouse and then losing its footing on the floor. Workers are heard in the video baiting one another as one is heard saying: "Do not leave. You're hesitating."
Another laughs and adds: "Do you want some Christmas beef?" After anti-animal abuse organization Animal Aid released the footage taken at the abattoir, the FSA launched its investigation.
"PJ Hayman & Sons is a small slaughterhouse, which some people may think is more humane, but we were deeply shocked and saddened by what we filmed there," said Tor Bailey, farming and slaughter campaign manager at Animal Aid. "This included a cow being beaten on the way to her death, and the already horrific slaughter process being worsened by blatant incompetence.
"Time and time again we have revealed shocking scenes that dispel the" humane slaughter "myth. We would urge anyone who feels transported by the footage to consider going plant-based as this is the only way to be assured of animal welfare.
The Food Standards Agency confirmed it has launched a criminal investigation into the actions of those caught on the footage.
A spokesperson said: "The Food Standards Agency takes animal welfare at abattoirs very seriously and a criminal investigation is underway. Our veterinary staff reviewed the footage received from Animal Aid and appropriate action was taken within 24 hours.
"The introduction of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses later this year is part of stronger measures to ensure proper safeguards are introduced to prevent accidents of this nature.