Cameras hidden in a transit center near the port of Cherbourg has revealed disturbing scenes of workers kicking and beating the calves with sticks.
Released by animal-rights organizations L214 and Eyes on Animals, the footage shows 'the violence with which the calves are handled', including an employee 'repeatedly' jumping on a calf that he had 'thrown to the ground'.
L214 state: "[The calves] are weakened by travel, hungry and thirsty because of the lack of adequate feeding systems onboard."
Last year, Ireland reportedly exported more than 100,000 calves - mainly to the Netherlands and Spain. Now, both animal-rights organizations are calling on the European Commission for a complete ban on the transport of unweaned animals.
'They live a real hell'
Co-founder of the L214 association, Sébastien Arsac said: "The transport of young calves over long distances is intolerable. These calves, just out of their mother's womb, endure more than 50 hours of transport in terrible conditions: piled up to 300 in three-level livestock, thirsty, manipulated with violence, they live a real hell.
"The European Union must stop the transport of unweaned calves and other infant animals. As consumers, we can act directly by replacing dairy products with plant alternatives as much as possible."
L215 and Eyes on Animals have filed a complaint for 'acts of cruelty'.