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Animal Welfare Complaint Filed After Footage Appears To Show Moving Cow Being Skinned Alive

Animal Justice August 28, 2018

MILTON, Ontario—An animal welfare complaint has been filed with provincial law enforcement authorities after a video appearing to show a cow moving its head while its skin is hacked off has gone viral on Twitter.

“Under Ontario law, it is illegal to cause animals to be in distress,” said Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice. “Removing the skin of a conscious animal would certainly qualify as causing distress. Authorities must investigate to determine whether the movements depicted in the video were the result of a conscious animal struggling to right itself while being cut up alive.”

Non-stun slaughter is permitted in Canada. Federal policy prohibits suspending or dragging sensible (conscious) animals, and requires immediate corrective action if animals return to sensibility. However, laws regulating slaughter do not apply when people are killing animals for their own consumption.

“It appears from this video that this cow may still be conscious while being skinned,” said Ontario-based veterinarian Dr. Maureen Harper said. “It is hard to say definitively that this is the case. Regardless, it is my opinion that non-stun or ritual slaughter is a cruel and inhumane practice and should be banned in this country. This case presents a perfect argument for this, as clearly the people in the video are not trained to asses whether or not the animal is dead prior to being skinned.”

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is opposed to slaughter without stunning because “it causes avoidable pain.” The British Veterinary Association, Farm Animal Welfare Council, EU Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare, and the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe have also issued position statements opposing slaughter without stunning.

Many countries have already banned or restricted non-stun slaughter, including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Australia.

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For more information, contact:

Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
apippus@animaljustice.ca

 

 

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Animal Justice

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Authorities Investigate Footage of Pigs Crammed in Sweltering Manitoba Transport Truck

Animal Justice August 3, 2018

BRANDON, MB—The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating potential animal protection law violations after viewing footage showing pigs crammed into a transport truck, pushed together and climbing on top of each other, on a sweltering day in July. The footage was captured outside the Maple Leaf Foods pig slaughterhouse in Brandon, Manitoba by members of Manitoba Animal Save, who also recorded the temperature inside the truck at nearly 40 degrees Celsius.

“It was heartbreaking to see the animals crammed in next to each other in such unbearable heat,” said Cheryl Sobie, an organizer with Manitoba Animal Save. “Some animals were panting and foaming at the mouth, which we know means they’re heat-stressed. Others seemed to have given up. If this were a truck full of dogs, people would rightfully be outraged. There’s no reason not to extend the same consideration to pigs, who are equally sentient. Sadly, our group regularly documents farmed animals in similar conditions, leading us to believe it’s common across the country.”

“Federal law prohibits crowding animals in transport, and guidelines indicate that animals must be given even more space on hot days,” said Anna Pippus, an animal rights lawyer for the animal law non-profit Animal Justice. “However, animal protection laws in Canada are weak, vague, and under-enforced. This is a case in point. Business-as-usual in Canada’s animal farming system is in desperate need of an overhaul. Government must hold transporters accountable for routinely putting profit and convenience ahead of the basic needs of the vulnerable animals in their care.”

Pigs don’t have sweat glands and have no way to cool themselves in sweltering weather aboard unventilated metal trucks. Transport trucks aren’t equipped with fans or water sprinklers, but pigs are transported every day of the year regardless of weather.

Canada’s animal transport laws haven’t been updated in four decades and have been criticized by experts as being the worst in the western world. Pigs can be trucked for up to 36 hours without a break for rest, food or water. Government data show that in 2017, over 14,000 pigs arrived at slaughterhouses dead, having died en route.

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The footage can be seen here.

For more information, contact:

Cheryl Sobie
manitobaanimalsave@gmail.com

Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
apippus@animaljustice.ca

 

 

Join the Animal Justice mailing list

Yes, I want to stay in touch! 

Animal Justice

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Animal Justice Seeks External Investigation After Cats Left in Vehicle for 22 Days by Edmonton Humane Society

Animal Justice June 5, 2018

EDMONTON – National animal law organization Animal Justice is seeking an independent external investigation into an incident that occurred at the Edmonton Humane Society. According to a statement issued by the Humane Society, it left three cats in a transport vehicle for 22 days between March 27 and April 18. When they were discovered, the cats were dehydrated, starving, and suffering from urine burns on their paws. They survived.

The incident appears to contravene the provincial Animal Protection Act, which prohibits causing distress to animals, and requires that animals be provided with adequate food, water, and shelter. The Animal Protection Act is a regulatory statute, meaning liability for a violation is assumed without proof that the person intended the consequences.

“No one doubts the Edmonton Humane Society’s commitment to animal protection, and their regret over this incident,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “However, serious questions remain. The Edmonton Humane Society is responsible for investigating animal neglect. It is an obvious conflict of interest for the Humane Society to investigate itself over an apparent violation of the laws it enforces. An external agency, such as the police, must be called in immediately to investigate and determine whether charges should be laid.”

“When police forces are alleged to have committed illegal acts, it is standard practice for external agencies to investigate to ensure investigative independence and police accountability. This serious incident requires much more than the private internal review that was conducted.

“More broadly, this incident highlights the troubling lack of public accountability when it comes to the enforcement of animal protection laws. Humane societies and SPCAs are private charities, yet are tasked with enforcing public laws with little oversight. In no other area of law enforcement does this model still exist.”

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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