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CFIA Cracks Down on Meat Cut Mislabelling, But Ignores Animal Suffering

Animal Justice October 17, 2017

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) just fined a meat company $200,000 for five counts of false labelling. The fine was imposed after Eastern Meat Solutions was busted for packaging beef products as prime rib, Angus, and sirloin—when they were not.

This fine is part of a larger, worrying trend by Canada’s food industry regulator: The CFIA prioritizes enforcement when business interests are affected, but neglects enforcement when animal suffering is at stake.

Animal Justice works to expose the epidemic of false animal welfare claims by companies doing business in Canada, along with countless duped consumers, and a nonexistent government response. We filed consumer protection complaints against slaughterhouse Maple Lodge Farms for claiming to treat chickens humanely even while on probation for illegal animal cruelty. We went after supermarket chain Safeway for marketing chicken meat as “certified humane,” even though genetically manipulated birds are crowded in dark warehouses and deprived of everything that makes life worth living. And we caught the Dairy Farmers of Canada red-handed for running deceptive dairy ads disguised as public health announcements. Despite this long list of violations, the CFIA has refused to prosecute or fine companies for false animal welfare claims.

Earlier this year, we told you that the CFIA is overhauling food labelling regulations. One planned change is that it will be easier for food companies to mislead consumers about animal welfare claims like “free range” and “grass fed.” The CFIA plans to make animal welfare claims its lowest enforcement priority, encouraging consumers to take their questions and concerns to the food companies rather than law enforcement. But consumers have no way to verify claims made by companies, which stand to benefit financially from misleading consumers.

But labelling isn’t the CFIA’s only problem—it routinely underenforces animal transport regulations, too. Meat and egg companies often truck animals long distances in freezing cold or blistering hot weather—illegally allowing animals to suffer to death from weather exposure, lack of ventilation, or crowding. Yet transporters typically only face a measly few thousand dollars in fines for these violations—even when an offender has already racked up dozens of prior offences.

Food fraud is wrong, and meat companies should be held accountable for misleading consumers about product quality. But animal suffering is far more troubling, especially when companies lie to consumers about it so they support it financially. In these cases, the animal victims endure physical and emotional agony—not just a lower-quality meal.

If you agree that the life-and-death treatment of sentient animals is more important than the quality of someone’s steak dinner, please write to federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAuley: lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca. He needs to hear that the CFIA’s enforcement priorities do not represent the values of caring Canadians.

 

 

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Complaints Filed With Authorities After Bleeding Turkey Witnessed on Transport Truck

Animal Justice June 7, 2017

DUBLIN, Ontario – Animal cruelty complaints have been filed with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals after a witness documented a turkey with a bleeding foot and chest aboard a transport truck.

Ontario law requires animals to be transported in a way that ensures their physical safety. Federal agriculture laws prohibit exposing animals to undue suffering during transport.

The treatment of animals used for food during transportation has been in the public spotlight recently as the federal government has moved to update its 40-year-old transport regulations. Advocates criticize the regulations as permitting animals to suffer in crowded, unventilated, uninsulated trucks without access to food, water or rest. Transportation is so stressful that more than a million animals arrive at slaughterhouses dead each year in Canada, while millions more suffer from injuries and exposure.

“Our laws are supposed to provide basic protection to all animals, but they aren’t being properly enforced,” said Anna Pippus, lawyer and director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice. “If a dog was found in a car bleeding profusely and in obvious pain, the offender would be charged right away. Turkeys can suffer just like dogs can, and they’re entitled to the same legal protections.

“Farmed animals routinely endure egregious suffering in the course of business-as-usual farming practices. While society debates the ethics of farming animals, the least we can do is enforce the laws on the books to protect animals from illegal, preventable suffering.”

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A copy of the complaint can be found here.

For more information, contact:

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

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur / Djurattsalliansen

Animal Justice

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Authorities Investigating After Live Chicken Goes Through Sanitizing Washer at Vancouver Slaughterhouse

Animal Justice June 27, 2016

VANCOUVER—The BC SPCA is investigating an incident of a live chicken going through a sanitizing washer at Hallmark Poultry in downtown Vancouver. The aftermath of the incident was captured by photographer Kornelia Kulbacki, who was at the slaughterhouse as part of a demonstration against cruelty in the chicken industry. Her photo showing the soaked and distressed chicken has since gone viral on Facebook (see here and here).

“I was horrified to see a live animal huddled in the corner of a crate being stacked with other empty crates,” said Ms. Kulbacki. “I pleaded with one of the workers in charge to let us rescue the animal and take him or her to a sanctuary, but he refused. Science has shown that chickens are emotionally complex individuals who have the capacity to suffer, just like our beloved dogs and cats at home. At slaughterhouses, the sentient animals we call ‘food’ are treated like mere commodities by workers desensitized to the overwhelming violence of the system.”

“This incident appears to be a clear violation of both federal and provincial laws that protect animals,” said lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy with Animal Justice. “Allowing live animals to be exposed to the scalding water and chemicals of sanitizing washers is blatant animal cruelty. Law enforcement authorities must act to hold the slaughterhouse accountable for its callous disregard of living animals.”

Ms. Kulbacki has reported the incident to the BC SPCA, which enforces provincial animal welfare laws, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which enforces federal slaughter laws at meat processing plants. The BC SPCA has commenced an investigation.

For more information:
?
Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
apippus@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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