A DAIRY farm says it has taken “immediate action” after a video purporting to show animal abuse at its site in St Osyth was posted online.

The video has been released as part of animal rights organisation Surge’s latest campaign - Dismantle Dairy.

Surge says investigators used hidden cameras to film instances of animals being kicked, punched and hit with plastic sticks at Wigboro Wick Farm in St Osyth.

The investigators said they also took photos of dead calves left outside in the open.

The video appears to show workers shouting and swearing at the cows.

The hidden camera footage has been sent to both the Animal and Plant Health Authority and RSPCA.

The farm is run by Smith Farms (Clacton).

In a statement to the Gazette its dairy unit said: “The welfare of our dairy herd is our number one priority.

“We aim to uphold the highest standards of animal welfare and care and insist on the same high standards from everyone who works with us.

“We have taken immediate action in relation to the incidents shown (including disciplinary action) and have implemented a comprehensive re-training programme in our determination to ensure that any shortcomings in our systems and practices are addressed.

“Trespassers entered our farm unlawfully and secretly filmed many hours of footage over a number of months.

“We regard this as a gross breach of privacy – of family members, children and staff members – and absolutely condemn it.”

Surge says investigators did not knowingly engage in any illegal activity such as breaking and entering, theft or criminal damage.

It says the footage was filmed over six weeks in May and June this year.

Guy Smith is one of six directors of Smith Farms (Clacton) Ltd, and is also deputy president of National Farmer’s Union.

He told the Gazette he has no input in the running of the dairy.

Mr Smith said: “I wish to make it clear that I am not responsible in any way for the dairy side of the business and derive no financial benefit from it.

"I have no doubt that those responsible for the dairy side of the business will immediately take all necessary steps so as to ensure the highest animal welfare standards are maintained going forwards.

“Furthermore, I am sure that they will take appropriate disciplinary action against the employees in question, if they deem it necessary.”