FRESNO – Foster Farms has suspended five employees in connection to animal abuses depicted on an undercover video taken at one of its facilities.

The company launched an internal investigation after Mercy For Animals, an animal welfare organization, released the video online and filed a criminal complaint with the Fresno County Sheriff's Department.

“Foster Farms is cooperating fully with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department and is conducting its own investigation into a report of animal abuse at the company's Fresno facilities,” the company said in a statement. The company has already identified and suspended five employees that were either directly involved in abusive behavior or witnessed the incidents without reporting the violations to management.”

Mercy For Animals also leveled criticism toward the American Humane Association which administers the American Humane Certified animal welfare auditing program for farms and ranches. The undercover video was taken at a Foster Farms facility that was Animal Humane Certified. Foster Farms defended its participation in the program.

“The American Humane Certification program provides the birds under our care with animal welfare standards that are supported by science and ethics,” Foster Farms said. “They are in place at our facilities 24/7, 365 days a year. The management and employees at Foster Farms remain committed to animal welfare throughout the company.”