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Maple Lodge Farms launches probe after allegations of animal cruelty

New video purportedly shot after company fined over treatment of animals

An animal rights group alleges that one of Ontario's top chicken producers is engaging in inhumane practices despite a court order to treat their poultry with more care.

Mercy for Animals say it has obtained hidden camera footage of slaughtering practices at Maple Lodge Farms, a major provider of chicken products based in Brampton, Ont.

The group says the video shows that chickens are transported in conditions so frigid that the birds die of cold en route to Maple Lodge's plant.

It also says the chickens are subjected to rough treatment resulting in broken bones and electrical shocks that fail to knock the birds before they're killed.

A spokeswoman for Maple Lodge says the company has not watched the video but has launched an investigation after reading ``very disturbing'' written descriptions of the footage.

She says the firm has a zero tolerance policy against animal welfare violations.

Mercy for Animals says the video was shot in the months after an Ontario court convicted Maple Lodge Farms of two breaches of the Health of Animals Act.

The company also pleaded guilty to 18 additional counts and was ordered to pay a $1 million fine.

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