VANCOUVER—National animal law organization Animal Justice is calling for animal cruelty charges and government oversight of the animal farming industry after video footage showing extreme animal neglect inside four B.C. egg farms was broadcast on CTV News. The footage shows hens living neck-deep in deep piles of faeces, afflicted with prolapse and other injuries, and living in barren cages with severe feather loss. Many carcasses were found in cages and in the manure pit below the facility.
B.C. animal protection law, which applies to the animal farming industry, prohibits permitting animals to be in distress. It also requires animals to have adequate food, water, shelter, ventilation, light, space, exercise, and veterinary treatment; and explicitly prohibits keeping animals in unsanitary conditions.
However, these laws are not proactively enforced on Canadian farms. Law enforcement is only alerted to potential animal welfare problems upon receiving witness complaints from members of the public—which is unlikely to happen when cruelty and neglect occur inside windowless industrial farm facilities on private property. Although the federal government regulates animal welfare in transport and slaughterhouses as part of its food safety mandate, there is virtually no oversight of animal welfare on farms.
“In our experience, extreme neglect is the norm inside Canada’s industrial farms,” said lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice. “Laws are supposed to protect animals from cruelty and neglect, but in practice, these laws are rarely enforced against industrial farms. That’s largely because cruelty and neglect are totally invisible to any potential witnesses.”
“The industry touts its codes of practice as setting out animal care standards, but even these weak codes of practice often go ignored. This is an industry that has proven itself incapable of self-regulation. The government needs to regulate and monitor farms, create transparency in the sector, and proactively prosecute legal violations to deter the most extreme cases of cruelty and neglect.”
Some of the suffering animals who were removed from the egg facility to be taken to the vet are now living in their rescuer’s back yard with access to shelter, bedding, nests, and a large yard to explore. Despite their limps and amputated beaks, these lucky hens have regained their health, energy, and feathers.
The CTV story can be seen here.
For more information, contact:
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
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