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Here’s Why Thanksgiving is a Nightmare for Turkeys

Animal Justice October 9, 2017

On Thanksgiving, many Canadians give thanks for the wonderful things in our lives, including friends, family, and health.

But turkeys killed and eaten for Thanksgiving dinner have nothing to be thankful for. Raised in appalling conditions on Canada’s industrial turkey facilities and shipped to slaughter, their lives are bleak and filled with suffering.

Turkeys are curious, friendly, and sensitive birds with big personalities. But in Canada, 20 million turkeys are killed for food every year—many of them destined for Thanksgiving meals.

Undercover footage has exposed brutal conditions, abusive transport, and botched killing in the turkey industry. In one exposé of a Kitchener, Ontario turkey farm, workers were seen punching, throwing, and kicking birds, hitting them with metal rods and shovels, and crushing their spines.

And footage from a turkey slaughterhouse in Abbotsford, British Columbia shows painful, botched killings. Multiple turkeys are improperly stunned, thus fully conscious when their throats were slit with a metal blade. Many birds missed the blade, and were then dragged vats full of boiling water to remove their feathers. This killing process is standard in the turkey industry.

Earlier this year, Animal Justice filed a legal complaint with authorities after a witness documented bleeding and injured birds bring trucked to slaughter. Turkeys can be shipped in open-sided vehicles, exposed to blistering heat and frigid cold, for up to 36 hours—all without food, water, or rest. Canada’s weak transport laws are infrequently enforced.

 

Disturbingly, there are no federal regulations protecting turkeys and other farmed animals from horrific suffering while on farms. Please join Animal Justice in asking the federal government to regulate on-farm conditions for animals, and help spread compassion for turkeys by sharing this post!

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Animal Justice

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Undercover Video Shows Shocking Animal Cruelty at Papanack Zoo

Animal Justice August 11, 2017

OTTAWA—Disturbing video footage secretly recorded at the Papanack Zoo in Wendover, Ontario was released this morning by Animal Justice. The footage shows zoo management admitting to beating a lion cub, baby animals stolen from their mothers to be tamed for use as selfie props, and animals performing repetitive, stereotypic behaviours. In one particularly disturbing scene, a skunk and raccoon have their mouths pried open with a cord by zoo management during a photo shoot for the reality TV show ‘Billy Goes North‘.

Papanack Zoo last sparked public outrage in February, 2016 when the owners gunned down a lion named Zeus who escaped from his cage.

The video footage was shot by a whistleblower who worked at Papanack Zoo, approximately an hour east of Ottawa.

The graphic footage shows:

  • A zoo manager describing how he trained a lion cub by repeatedly hitting the baby animal in the face.
  • Baby animals, including a baby cougar and baby fox, stolen away from their mothers so they can be handled by the public and used as selfie props.
  • A raccoon, skunk, and bobcat prodded and forced to pose in a photo shoot for the reality show ‘Billy Goes North.’ The raccoon and skunk have their mouths forced and held open with a cord by zoo management.
  • Zoo management stating that several Père David deers (extinct in the wild) broke their necks after running into the fence of their enclosure.
  • Animals engaged in repetitive, stereotypic behaviours such as pacing and rocking, including a spider monkey, baby coyote, and several large cats.

Ontario has become the roadside zoo capital of Canada because it is the only province that does not license or regulate zoos. Any person can confine wild animals in a public zoo or private menagerie without obtaining a license, following zoo-specific standards, or submitting to government oversight. Unlike other provinces, there is no way for the Ontario government to shut down a zoo no matter how disturbing the conditions might be for the animals unwillingly kept in captivity.

“This video shows that vulnerable animals endure appalling conditions at Papanack Zoo,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Public opinion is rapidly turning against confining animals for entertainment, yet the government continues to leave animals out in the cold. Even a hairstylist needs a license to operate in Ontario, yet anyone can open up a zoo without a license or government oversight. Animal Justice is calling on the Ontario government to introduce a comprehensive zoo licensing regime to protect animals from some of the worst forms of captive cruelty, and ensure that abusive zoos and aquariums can be shut down when appropriate.”

There has been significant public outrage over Ontario’s failure to regulate zoos after a Crown prosecutor in Niagara Falls withdrew animal cruelty charges against Marineland this week. Animal cruelty charges against Bowmanville Zoo owner Michael Hackenberger were also withdrawn earlier this year, and the Bowmanville Zoo has since re-opened under a new name.

Animal Justice is also calling on Country Music Television to cancel future airings of Billy Goes North, a highly-staged ‘reality’ TV show starring ‘exterminator’ Billy Bretherton.

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Fast facts:

  • Ontario is the only province that does not license or regulate zoos. Other provinces typically require zoos be licensed or permitted for some or all aspects of their operations, and adhere to zoo-specific standards.
  • There are no legal rules or animal welfare standards for the use of animals in film and entertainment, such as TV and film productions.
  • A 2015 Insights West poll found that half of Canadians oppose keeping animals in zoos and aquariums.

A compilation of footage prepared by Animal Justice is available here.

Broadcast quality footage and images are available upon request.

Animal Justice is encouraging the public to ask the Ontario government to license and regulate zoos at the following advocacy page.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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EXPOSED: Filth and Fraud in the Canadian Meat Industry

Animal Justice August 5, 2017

The Canadian meat industry did NOT have a good week! Two disturbing meat stories grabbed headlines, reminding the public that animal cruelty, contamination, and false labelling run rampant in animal slaughter and processing.

A Vancouver Sun article exposed B.C. slaughterhouse inspection records obtained under freedom of information laws. Inspectors documented botched animal slaughter, rotting flesh on live animals, insects, and filthy, unsanitary conditions. Many slaughterhouses were contaminated due to improper cleaning, inadequate disinfection, rodent dropping, and insects.

One inspector reported that workers shocked pigs mercilessly with electric cattle prods while screaming at the animals.

In another case, a frightened cow jumped away from the kill floor and couldn’t regain footing for 6 minutes. After breaking a glass jar, he fell back onto the kill floor and was improperly shot, suffering for several minutes before being shot again and bleeding out. Two other cows were terrified by the chaos and broke two boards in their holding pen while frantically trying to escape.

In another report, a cow’s udder was seen detaching from her body, and a vile odour was present, suggesting her flesh was rotting away.

Another inspector documented an overcrowded trailer, which killed 15 birds because of a failure to provide proper airflow.

Fines for slaughterhouse violations are $100,000 for a first conviction and $200,000 per day for a second offence. Despite these extensive animal cruelty and food safety violations, not a single B.C. facility has faced a fine or suspension of operations.

Meanwhile, a University of Guelph study revealed that one in five sausages from grocery stores across Canada contain meat from an animal not disclosed on the label. Of the 27 cow flesh sausages examined, seven actually contained pig meat. One of the 38 pig meat sausages studied contained horse meat. Four out of 20 chicken sausages contained turkey flesh, and one contained cow. Five of the 15 turkey sausages examined were actually made from chickens, with no turkey at all.

And the researchers don’t believe this is simply a case of trace amounts. Instead, the meat-mixing points to either intentional fraud, or major errors in processing.

The meat industry prioritizes profits while misleading consumers, and disregarding animal protection laws and food safety standards. Thanks to the power of media exposés, more and more consumers are aware of the dark side of this industry.

 

 

Stay in touch by joining the Animal Justice mailing list!

Yes, I want to stay in touch! 

Animal Justice

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  • EXPOSED: Filth and Fraud in the Canadian Meat Industry

    by on August 5, 2017 - 0 Comments

    The Canadian meat industry did NOT have a good week! Two disturbing meat stories grabbed headlines, reminding the public that animal cruelty, contamination, and false labelling run rampant in animal slaughter and processing. A Vancouver Sun article exposed B.C. slaughterhouse inspection records obtained under freedom of information laws. Inspectors documented botched animal slaughter, rotting flesh... Read more » Animal Justice

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