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See How Many Animals Canada Killed for Food This Year in Real Time

Animal Justice August 2, 2018

A new website exposing the truth about the number of animals killed by the meat industry has just launched in Canada. Animal Clock, already available in the US and the UK, raises awareness about the vast number of animals raised and slaughtered for food, breaking down slaughter numbers for each type of animal commonly killed on modern farms.

Animal Clock features a live calculator showing how many animals are being killed by the Canadian meat industry. Nearly all of the animals slaughtered were first raised on commercial farms, where physical and emotional suffering and deprivation is the norm. Animals are confined in large, crowded barns. They experience painful procedures such as debeaking and castration without anesthetic, and many animals never see the light of the sun or breathe fresh air until the day they are shipped to the slaughterhouse, often at only a few months of age.

The startling number of animals slaughtered in Canada each year is a wake-up call.

 

SEE ANIMAL CLOCK

 

In 2017, Canada killed over 800 million land animals for food. This is up from 771 million in 2016, as people are eating less cows but more chicken flesh. Chickens are smaller animals, so more of them must be killed to produce the same volume of meat.

Animal Clock also acts an advocacy tool, empowering citizens to stand up against the cruelty of the meat industry. The site explains how Canada’s legal system fails animals, why our laws are among the worst in the western world, and calls out the government for blocking many attempts to improve our laws.

In the “You can make a difference” section, Animal Clock breaks down how people can get change the world for animals by sharing information with others, getting politically active, voting with their wallet, and reporting animals cruelty when they see it.

Finally, the site highlights the plant-based movement that is rapidly expanding across the country. A cultural shift away from meat consumption to plant-based eating is good news for animals, human health, and the environment. Now that’s something to celebrate!

See the new Canadian edition for Animal Clock here.

 

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Thousands of Animals Burn Alive at Van Boekel Farm, of #PigTrial Fame

Animal Justice May 29, 2018

Van Boekel Farms has a habit of getting itself in the news.

In 1994, the family pig farming business and its owner—Eric Van Boekel—were convicted for spilling manure into waterways, damaging the water and surrounding environment. Then, in 2011, they were convicted again, for seven offences under the Ontario Water Resources Act, Environmental Protection Act and Nutrient Management Act. Eric Van Boekel was sentenced to 30 days in jail, ordered to pay $345,000 in fines plus a 25% victim surcharge, and put on probation for two years. On appeal, the sentence was reduced.

Then, in 2015, Van Boekel famously reported Save Movement activist Anita Krajnc to police for giving water to panting, heat-stressed pigs aboard his transport truck on a hot summer’s day. Krajnc was charged with mischief and later acquitted, but not before the case put the entire pig industry on trial. Among other revelations, the cross examination of Van Boekel’s driver revealed that pigs go into distress during transport, that technology is available to cool them but it isn’t being used, and that he was unaware of animal welfare laws with which he was supposed to be compliant.

Now, Van Boekel’s Oxford County barn has burned down with 3000 sows and an “undetermined number of other pigs” trapped inside. Although the OPP say the fire is not suspicious, the Ontario Fire Marshal has been called in to investigate.

Most buildings in Canada must follow strict fire safety rules, but farm buildings with “low human occupancy” don’t. Modern farms can contain tens of thousands of animals whose ability to experience physical pain and emotional suffering is no different than our own, but because human occupancy is the standard, very few fire safety requirements exist to protect them.

Tragically for animals, farm buildings are dangerous, and fire hazards and disaster is inevitable. Animals are trapped inside, with no escape route. There are no fire detection or extinguishing systems in place, like sprinklers. Farm buildings are usually in rural areas, far from fire hydrants, fire stations, and have volunteer firefighters who respond from home. Wiring and electrical equipment is easily damaged by rodents and rampant indoor air pollution. Barns are often filled with flammable straw and wood, flammable gases from animal waste, and dangerous equipment like heat lamps. Despite the extreme risk to animals, fire safety inspections, and prevention plans still aren’t mandatory.

So it’s not really a surprise that between January 2015 and November 2017, more than 470,000 farmed animals burned alive on Canadian farms. It’s clear that the farming industry is unwilling or incapable of taking action to curb the epidemic of animals burning alive in barn fires. That’s why we need the National Farm Building Code to factor in animal protection, to force fire standards into place for farmed animals.

Please take action by contacting your local MP and asking them to protect animals from dying in horrific barn fires!

 

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What You Can Do About False Animal Welfare Labels on Meat, Dairy, and Eggs

Animal Justice May 3, 2018

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has issued a “What We Heard” report about its planned overhaul of Canadian food labelling regulations. What We Heard reports are issued after stakeholders are consulted on proposed policy changes; themes in stakeholder feedback are identified and summarized.

What does food labelling have to do with animal protection, anyway? Meat, dairy and egg packaging often tries to present products as animal-friendly, using terms like “free range,” “cage-free,” “grass-fed” and “family farm.” These labels suggest to consumers that animals were raised in a certain way and may convince them to buy or even pay more for animal products with these labels.

If labelling laws are lax, there is no incentive for producers to improve conditions for animals, because they can mislead consumers instead of making actual changes. In addition, consumers who care about animals may be led to believe that so-called humane agriculture is kind for animals. The truth is that most consumers believe conditions for animals are much better than they actually are.

Now, the CFIA wants to make labelling regulations even weaker than they already are. It wants to make animal welfare and other so-called “consumer values” claims its lowest enforcement priority. Instead of proactively defining and standardizing claims about how farmed animals are treated, the CFIA thinks consumers should be forced to contact companies themselves to find out what their animal welfare claims mean.

But consumers have no way of verifying information provided by companies. Meanwhile, companies stand to benefit financially from misleading consumers.

Animal Justice participated in the CFIA’s labelling consultation. We told them that animal farming lacks transparency, that government must ensure consumers can make informed choices, that animal welfare claims must be regulated, and that regulation is the responsibility of government, not consumers or industry.

We also mobilized Canadians to take action, guiding you through the online feedback process.

It seems that our concerns have been heard: in its What We Heard report, the CFIA wrote:
“Many questioned how the model would achieve a consistent approach regarding the meaning of claims or criteria for making claims.”
“Some consumers and consumer associations thought they may not have the resources (e.g. time, influence, money, knowledge, education, access to information, etc.) to fulfill their role as part of this model. There were concerns that if this is the case, it could become “buyer beware” in the marketplace.”
“Stakeholders stressed the role of government in providing guidance on how to avoid misleading claims.”
“Effective enforcement was mentioned as critical to the success of the model and to avoiding consumer deception when CFIA intervention is needed.”

Unfortunately, however, the CFIA also noted that 84 percent of stakeholders were in favour of the proposed policy changes. Not surprisingly, support was greater among industry than consumers.

What can you do?

The CFIA has correctly identified the concerns with loosening labelling regulations. Now, they need to act on them. Tell the CFIA to crack down on misleading labelling by signing our petition!

 

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Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Animal Equality

Animal Justice

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