Remember who was murdered,then you ate their smile
Culture of cruelty’
“This is not a matter of a few workers, this is a culture of cruelty that has been permitted for far too long at Elite Farms and across the poultry industry.”
Mercy for Animals is demanding the workers, the supervisors and both Elite Farms and Lilydale all face prosecution. The organization has filed complaints with the RCMP, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the BC SPCA.
ou are a typical egg-laying chicken in America, and this is your life: You’re trapped in a cage with six to eight hens, each given less than a square foot of space to roost and sleep in. The cages rise five high and run thousands long in a warehouse without windows or skylights. You see and smell nothing from the moment of your birth but the shit coming down through the open slats of the battery cages above you. It coats your feathers and becomes a second skin; by the time you’re plucked from your cage for slaughter, your bones and wings breaking in the grasp of harried workers, you look less like a hen than an oil-spill duck, blackened by years of droppings. Your eyes tear constantly from the fumes of your own urine, you wheeze and gasp like a retired miner, and you’re beset every second of the waking day by mice and plaguelike clouds of flies. If you’re a broiler chicken (raised specifically for meat), thanks to “meat science” and its chemical levers – growth hormones, antibiotics and genetically engineered feed – you weigh at least double what you would in the wild, but lack the muscle even to waddle, let alone fly. Like egg-laying hens – your comrades in suffering – you get sick young with late-life woes: heart disease, osteoporosis. It’s frankly a mercy you’ll be dead and processed in 45 days, yanked from your floor pen and slaughtered. The egg-layers you leave behind will grind on for another two years or so (or until they’re “spent” and can’t produce any more eggs), then they’re killed too.
At Free from Harm, we work hard to dismantle popular arguments in favor of eating animals: we link to scientific reports from major public health organizations all over the world confirming that humans have no biological need to consume animal products. We promote vegan athletes and bodybuilders. Our contributing vegan doctor thoroughly debunks the protein myth, and we expose the gross inaccuracy of the “canine teeth” argument (herbivores have some of the largest and most ferocious canine teeth on the planet!). Father Frank Mann explains why a vegan diet is the only consistent expression of core religious values, and we introduce you to the most phenomenal vegan cheeses we have ever encountered (only 15 minutes and a few ingredients to prepare!)
Finally, we get up close and personal with the truth about so-called humane farming, exploring the hidden practices and routine cruelties that are inherent to all animal farming. We show you why there’s no such thing as humane dairy, and why animal agriculture is the number one human-caused driver of global warming and environmental destruction.
We’re grateful to be able to provide useful information from all of these perspectives. But sometimes it’s hard not to wonder why, when it comes to the question of eating animals, people need anything more than the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you —
In the U.S. alone, we kill more than 9 billion land animals every year for flesh and secretions we have no need to consume. Globally, nearly 60 billion animals are slaughtered every year. It is impossible to fathom such numbers. But one by one by one by one, in a never-ending, brutal stream, every second of every day animals are peering through the slats of transport trucks, feeling the last sunlight of their lives (which is very possibly also the first); one by one, every second of every day, entering the kill chute of the slaughterhouse and walking those final steps, defenseless and innocent; one by one looking up at the last human face they will ever see— and no kindness, no mercy comes.
When we have access to nutritious plant-based foods, and understand that eating animals is not necessary to good health, then the choice to eat animals anyway is a choice to intentionally hurt others we could have easily spared. No matter how much we may talk about kindness, no matter how much we may practice it elsewhere, as long as we demand that living, feeling individuals be harmed and killed for our pleasure — as long as we choose violence over compassion — then we do not live a good or just life. Far greater than the sum of our good acts is the trail of blood, suffering and death we willfully and needlessly leave behind us.
Imagine you are born into a world where humans steal your from your Mother, put you in a caged room and ship you off to be sold to the highest bidder for a small amount of money.
And why would humans do this to you? A piece of flesh, glass of lactation fluid or a piece of “cheese”.
You’re a baby with nobody to help you. You’re alone and you have no idea what this world is or what you need to do to escape.
This is your life and this is where it ends.
If you are a person who supports treating animals like this, you have no morals or ethics.
Please open your mind and your heart.
The driver of the truck confronted Anita and hurled sexist slurs at her. For her compassion, she was charged with criminal mischief for interference with the “use, enjoyment or operation of property”—the “property” being the pigs. She initially faced up to 10 years in prison and now still faces up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. The story was picked up by media around the world and quickly went viral.
Mother pigs sing to their young while nursing, and newborn piglets recognize their own names and run to their mothers’ voices.
Pigs are considered the fifth most intelligent animal in the world — even more intelligent than dogs — and are capable of playing video games with even more focus and success than chimps!
Our federal government takes issues of animal welfare seriously, and is currently in the beginning stages of proposing amendments to strengthen the Health of Animals Regulations. The current regulations were developed in 1977, and few amendments have been made since then. For that reason, there is a clear and substantive need to update the regulations. The proposed amendments are the product of ten years of consultation with industry, the public and special interest groups. This consultation process was based on a commitment to evidence-based policy and to ensuring that the proposed amendments improve, update, and strengthen protection for animals
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations: Part XII which deals with humane transportation. The proposed draft amendments first appeared in the Canada Gazette, Part I on December 3, 2016 and the public comment period will run until February 15, 2017. This is an opportunity for Canadians to share their views on the transportation of animals. If you are interested in reviewing or providing your comments on the proposed regulations, you may do so by visiting this website: http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2016/2016-12-03/html/reg2-eng.php
Vol. 150, No. 49 — December 3, 2016
Regulations Amending the Health of Animals Regulations
Health of Animals Act
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
(This statement is not part of the Regulations.)
Issues: The current provisions of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR or the Regulations) dealing with the transportation of animals do not reflect current science regarding the care and handling of animals, do not align with the standards of Canada’s international trading partners, and are not aligned with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) welfare standards for animals transported by land, air, and sea. This leads to a continuing risk that animals will suffer during transportation.
Description: The HAR would be amended to
- Provide clarification by adding definitions (for example definitions for compromised and unfit animals) and establishing clear requirements for regulated parties to better understand what is expected of them;
- Improve animal welfare and reduce risk of suffering during transportation by establishing clear and science-informed requirements that better reflect animals’ needs and current industry practices;
- Better align with the standards of Canada’s international trading partners and the OIE animal welfare standards for animals transported by land, air, and sea; and
- Remove obsolete or unnecessary requirements to reduce the burden on the industry.
Cost-benefit statement: It is anticipated that a small portion of commercial carriers that transport animals by land would bear additional costs, as an estimated 98% of all shipments are already in compliance with the proposed amendments. Some processors in the poultry industry may experience incremental costs associated with changes in management practices, but will realize cost savings in relation to the benefits resulting from these changes. The present value of the total industry costs is estimated to be approximately $3.9 million.
In addition to improving animal welfare, the proposed amendments would reduce transport losses and improve marketability and product quality, leading to benefits for consumers.
“One-for-One” Rule and small business lens: The “One-for-One” Rule would apply to the proposed amendments. The total administrative cost increase is estimated to have an annualized value of approximately $320,000. The small business lens would also apply. The total cost savings of the flexible option for small business is estimated to have an annualized value of approximately $87,000.
Domestic and international coordination and co-operation: Protecting animal welfare in Canada is a shared responsibility between federal, provincial and territorial governments, producers, transporters, processors, retailers, and many other stakeholders.
The proposed amendments to the HAR would significantly improve alignment with the OIE animal welfare standards for animals transported by land, air and sea. Furthermore, based on a comparative review conducted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the proposals respecting feed, water and rest would align Canada’s regulatory outcomes more closely with those of its trading partners, such as New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and the European Union (EU).
Animals are valued by people for social, cultural, economic and emotional reasons. They provide food, fibre, and companionship; are used in sport, recreation, education, and scientific study; and have increasing importance as aesthetic assets in their own right.
Canadians strongly support animal-handling processes that allow animals to express normal behaviours and do not result in animal pain, injury, or ill health. (see footnote 1) Good animal welfare practices contribute to reduced food safety risks and increased environmental sustainability by reducing the risk of disease. (see footnote 2) Similarly, poor animal welfare practices can contribute to economic losses. (see footnote 3)
The transportation of animals in Canada is a complex and wide-ranging activity carried out by a diverse set of stakeholders. Humane transportation of animals is a shared responsibility between several partners, including owners, producers, buyers, sellers, auction markets, assembly points, abattoirs, and transporters. Businesses range from small operators that move one animal to vertically integrated systems that transport multiple animals over short and long distances. It is estimated that 700 million animals are transported per year in Canada.
Transportation is an unfamiliar event for animals that can cause significant anxiety. (see footnote 4) Poor welfare leads to increased physiological and psychological stress, which in turn can lead to increased susceptibility to disease among animals and increased shedding of pathogens due to increased intestinal motility. This poses a risk to human and animal health. (see footnote 5)
Animals are transported, sometimes for long distances, for many reasons, including breeding, shows, feeding, sale, and slaughter. The continual consolidation of growing and finishing operations in the Canadian agriculture sector, as well as processing plants, has contributed to an increase in the distances animals are transported to reach production points. For example, the number of federal facilities processing beef decreased from 400 in 1976 to 30 in 2015. Similar consolidation has occurred at the farm level. For example, the number of farms decreased by 45.8% between 1976 and 2001. (see footnote 6)
Due to these increased distances, animals may be loaded and unloaded multiple times, over prolonged periods, and can be exposed to adverse environmental conditions such as excessive heat, cold, snow, and rain. The equipment used to transport animals is similarly varied, ranging from home-made trailers to commercial stock liners to containerized jumbo jets and specialized ships.
Part XII (Transportation of Animals) of the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR), which was first passed into law in 1977 pursuant to the authorities of the Health of Animals Act (the Act), regulates animal transportation, including the loading and unloading of animals within Canada as well as entering into or leaving Canada, by imposing requirements on those individuals involved in the transportation of animals and setting out prohibitions to address the welfare (humane treatment) of animals during transportation.
Part XII of the HAR was enacted to address animal welfare problems encountered during the long distance transport of cattle by rail. At the time, there was little research or information pertaining to the effects or risks of transportation on the well-being of animals. The provisions of the HAR were consequently written in general terms, using words such as “undue” as it applies to suffering, to qualify prohibitions. This can lead to inappropriate decisions, such as loading animals deemed unfit for transportation or loading compromised animals for transportation over long distances without special measures. This, in turn, may increase the risk of animal welfare issues.
By extrapolating from the rate of compliance in inspection data, it can be estimated that 2% of all shipments of animals being transported in Canada are not in compliance with the current regulatory requirements. This represents an estimated 14 million animals per year that may be suffering during transportation, of which 1.59 million animals per year are reported as dead on arrival at their final destination. Given the strong public support for preventing the suffering of animals, and the risk to human and animal health, this must be addressed.
More recent scientific evidence shows that transportation can be one of the most stressful experiences for animals, when animal welfare is not taken into account and addressed. (see footnote 7) The HAR do not reflect current science regarding the care and handling of animals, and frequently do not take the physical, behavioural, and physiological needs of animals into consideration. In addition, the HAR do not consistently align with current, generally accepted industry practices. The joint industry– government National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) develops codes of practice, which are nationally developed guidelines for the care and handling of farm animals. A code of practice for the transportation of farm animals was released in 2001. While the transportation code of practice considered the current requirements of the HAR when it was drafted, the recommendations in more recent codes of practice for the care and handling of farm animals meet, and in certain circumstances exceed, the requirements of the HAR.
Finally, the HAR do not consistently meet the standards of Canada’s international trading partners, such as the United States and the European Union (EU), and are not adequately aligned with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) welfare standards for animals transported by land, air and sea. As a member country of the OIE, Canada is expected to meet or exceed OIE standards. This lack of alignment could compromise market access for Canadian products in the future. For example, a recent European survey concluded that 93% of Europeans agree it is important to establish animal welfare standards that apply to products sourced from within and outside of the EU. (see footnote 8)
The proposed amendments to the HAR would
- Move towards a more outcome-based regulatory framework (for example replacing the requirement for a plane to “provide a change of air not less than once every five minutes” with a requirement to provide “adequate ventilation
Cornelius Kiley’s team
|Daniel Schwartz||Veterinarian – Biosecurity Specialist||604-541-5950||17735 1st Avenue, Room 175||Surrey||British Columbia||Canada|
|Geneviève Bénard||Transportation of Animals Program Specialist||613-773-7436||59 Camelot Drive, Floor 3 E, Room 234||Ottawa||Ontario||Canada|
|Lorne Jordan||Chief Biosecurity Specialist||613-773-7257||59 Camelot Drive, Floor 3E, Room 232||Ottawa||Ontario||Canada|
|Michelle Groleau||Veterinarian – Humane Animal Transport||613-773-7439||59 Camelot Drive, Floor 3 E, Room 233||Ottawa||Ontario||Canada|
|Patricia Pentney||Veterinary Inspector||905-937-9147||9, 350 St Catharines 13||St Catharines||Ontario||Canada|