EDMONTON, Alberta – An animal-welfare group has released a video depicting workers abusing hogs at Western Hog Exchange (WHE) in Edmonton. WHE is a non-profit organization engaged in marketing hogs for slaughter.

Mercy For Animals took the footage during the summer. But WHE didn't learn of the video until the first week of September after Canada's CTV W5 program contacted the exchange about the video. In response, the WHE has launched an independent third-party investigation into animal care and transportation practices at one of its assembly yards. WHE said the organization takes responsibility for what happens at its facilities.

“The care and handling of animals is a responsibility we take seriously, and it is paramount that our shortcomings related to animal care are dealt with immediately,” Brent Moen, WHE chairman, said in a statement. “As soon as we heard about potential problems at our assembly yard, we hired two independent third-party experts to come to the facility to review and evaluate our animal handling protocols and employee training procedures.”

WHE was provided a one-time opportunity on Sept. 17 to review the video footage taken at one of its assembly yards during the summer. Moen agreed to appear on camera with W5 immediately after viewing the videos.

WHE said the undercover video is part of a larger investigation being done by Mercy For Animals and the television network. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency was unable to view the video because the owners of the video refused to send it to the agency, thus preventing CFIA from carrying out a "proper and detailed investigation". However, CFIA launched an internal investigation.

"CFIA management has met with all inspection staff in the area to reinforce our values of courage, rigor and respect," the agency said in a statement. "We have also taken this opportunity to discuss with staff our ongoing expectation that animal-welfare responsibilities be carried out in a compassionate and respectful manner."