The SPCA is recommending animal cruelty charges after obtaining hidden camera footage of workers viciously abusing cattle at a major Canadian dairy farm in B.C.

The shocking video shows workers whipping and striking cows with chains, canes and rakes at Chilliwack Cattle Sales in the Fraser Valley.

In one instance, a cow is lifted up off the ground by a chain wrapped around its neck. In another, an employee repeatedly kicks a cow in the head while another hits it from behind.

The SPCA’s Marcie Moriarty said some of the animals were downed and trapped and unable to escape the abuse.

“Immediately once we saw the video and the animal cruelty that was depicted in it, we launched an investigation,” Moriarty said “The result of that investigation is that charges have been recommended to Crown counsel against eight individuals at this cattle company.”

The footage was shot over four weeks in May by an animal rights activist from Mercy for Animals Canada who worked at the farm undercover. It was sent to the SPCA on June 2.

“The attitude of these workers is chilling. It’s totally sadistic,” said Anna Pippus, director of legal advocacy for MFA Canada.

“The workers have no regard for the welfare of these animals.”

SPCA constables went to Chilliwack Cattle Sales with a veterinarian and dairy cattle expert last week. Moriarty said the Kooyman family, who owns Chilliwack Cattles Sales, is cooperating with the investigation.

Jeff Kooyman told CTV News all the employees from the video have been suspended pending an investigation. He also promised changes are on the way.

“We’re animal lovers, we’re not animal abusers but obviously something went wrong here. We plan to do something about this. Obviously we failed in training,” Kooyman said.

“Our entire family has been just devastated, deeply saddened by the fact that some of our cows may have been harmed by some of our employees."

The milk produced at Chilliwack Cattle Sales is supplied to dairy powerhouse Saputo, which owns the Dairyland brand familiar to most B.C. consumers.

Animal rights groups are responding to the video with calls for industry-wide changes, and not just among farmers. The SPCA is recommending the provincial government adopt requirements from 2009’s Canadian Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle into law.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have already incorporated farm animal care standards into provincial legislation, the SPCA said.

The B.C. Dairy Association said it condemns any mistreatment of animals in the industry and is working with the SPCA in its investigation.

With files from CTV Vancouver’s Scott Roberts