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Animals Are Freezing To Death on Canadian Slaughter Trucks Right Now

Animal Justice January 5, 2018

Canada is experiencing an especially frigid winter, with temperatures feeling as low as -40° C even in southern parts of the country like Toronto.

Many people will ride out this cold snap in the comfort of their homes, or bundle up if they must face the frosty outdoors. Environment Canada issues extreme cold weather alerts to protect people from frostbite, cities open up warming centres for homeless individuals, and schools even cancel outdoor recess periods when the temperature plummets.

But for the millions of chickens, pigs, and cows trucked to slaughterhouses everyday in Canada, it’s business as usual—even in frigid extremes.

Canadian animal transport slaughter truck slaughterhouse livestock

Animals are routinely transported to slaughter in open-sided vehicles, with no heating systems to protect them from the dangerous cold.

Canada’s animal transport laws are among the weakest in the western world, and there are no restrictions that lay out minimum or maximum temperatures in which animals can be transported. In brutally cold weather, animals routinely arrive at slaughter frostbitten or even dead from weather exposure. Workers at Canada’s largest slaughterhouse, Maple Lodge Farms, which kills half a million chickens every day, have described chickens arriving to slaughter, frozen solid like “hockey pucks” and “popsicles”. Government statistics show at least 1.59 million animals arriving dead at slaughterhouses every year.

Canada’s outdated transport laws haven’t been revised since the 1970s, and a recent proposal by the federal government to update the rules still fails to restrict animal transport during extreme weather, or require climate control for trucks.

Existing transport laws are ineffectively enforced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and even when investigations and prosecutions do take place, penalties are not strong enough to motivate industry to protect animals from the cold. Maple Lodge Farms, for example, has been repeatedly convicted and fined for allowing animals to freeze to death, yet still operates using the same inadequate trucks.

In 2018, Animal Justice will continue to fight archaic transport laws, and to protect millions of animals from the extreme suffering they endure on Canadian farms.

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Animal Justice

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Have Your Say: Canadian Government Might Ban Advertising Cheese To Kids

Animal Justice July 26, 2017

As part of the Healthy Eating Strategy, Health Canada is proposing to restrict the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children. Two approaches are being considered:

  • Option 1: banning advertising food to children if it exceeds 5 percent of the daily value of saturated fat, sugars or sodium; or
  • Option 2: banning advertising food to children if it exceeds 15 percent of the daily value of saturated fat, sugars, or sodium.

Under option 1, companies couldn’t advertise sugar-sweetened yogurt, cheese (even if calorie-reduced), or ice cream (among other foods) to children under the age of 17.

Under option 2, companies couldn’t advertise sugar-sweetened yogurt, most cheese, or ice cream to children under the age of 17. However, they would be allowed to advertise calorie-reduced cheese to children.

Tell the government to go with option 1! The dairy industry has successfully duped children and families into believing that cheese, chocolate milk, and sugary yogurt are a healthy and essential part of the human diet. By disguising their marketing as education, Canadian dairy lobbyists have even snuck their commercial interests into schools. In fact, these saturated fat-laden foods compromise health and can contribute to a lifetime of preventable illnesses like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

The dairy industry is also heartbreaking for animals. Mother cows endure back-to-back pregnancies, having each of their babies taken away at birth so humans can take the milk instead. The babies are isolated and killed for veal or used as dairy cows themselves. The mothers are genetically selected to produce unnatural quantities of milk, and often suffer from painful infections (mastitis). When their bodies weaken from the demands of constant pregnancies and lactation at only about a quarter of their natural lifespan, the mother cows are killed for hamburger meat.

Currently in Canada, there are no federally regulated restrictions on the marketing of food to children. But building on a strong body of evidence, in 2010 the World Health Organization (WHO) Member States, including Canada, released a set of recommendations calling for policies that reduce the impact of marketing to children of foods high in saturated fat, sugar and sodium.

The Healthy Eating Consultations are open until August 14, 2017.

 

Animal Justice

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Got (Soy) Milk? European Court Bans ‘Milk’ Labels on Dairy-Free Products

Animal Justice June 16, 2017

Plant-based food companies can no longer use terms like ‘milk’ and ‘cheese’ to describe their products, according a ruling by European Court of Justice released this week.

The case was sparked by a complaint against German company TofuTown, which sells dairy-free products like ‘tofu butter’ and ‘rice spray cream’. According to the Court, terms like ‘milk’, ‘cream’, ‘butter’, ‘yogurt’, and ‘cheese’ are exclusively reserved for animal-derived dairy products.

This isn’t the first time the dairy, egg, and meat industries have tried to shut down plant-based competitors, and it won’t be the last. As consumers learn more about the horrific animal cruelty that pervades the farming industry, they are increasingly seeking out vegan versions of traditional meat, dairy, and egg products. The market share of plant-based products has risen dramatically in recent years, and so to have the animal product industry’s efforts to undermine and injure plant-based companies.

Many Canadians will remember when meat-free sausage company Field Roast was forced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to temporarily halt Canadian distribution of its plant-based meat products. Field Roast sausages were labelled ‘vegetarian grain meat,’ but the CFIA told the company that it could no longer use this label without reformulating its product to have an identical nutritional profile to animal-based sausage. After a long absence, Field Roast came back into Canada with new labels stating ‘simulated sausage’ and ‘contains no meat’.

In another famous food war, U.S. mayonnaise company Hellman’s sued plant-based company Hampton Creek over its popular egg-free mayonnaise, Just Mayo. Hellman’s claimed the term ‘mayo’ could only be used for egg-based mayonnaise, but later backed down after a flood of public outrage. Hellman’s now sells its own brand of vegan mayonnaise in stores across North America.

Meanwhile, U.S. members of congress are pushing a bill that would restrict the use of the word ‘milk’ to dairy products from hooved animals.

But restrictive labelling laws won’t be enough to stop the rise of plant-based milks. The CFIA already restricts use of the word ‘milk’ in Canada, yet dairy consumption is still dropping steadily. According to Statistics Canada, per capita milk consumption has fallen by 21.5% per capita since 2009. The industry suffered losses of $25 million in 2015 alone.

Meanwhile, according to Nielson Home Scan Data 2016, Canadian sales of almond milk tripled in just two years.

Some traditional meat and dairy companies have acknowledged the trend, and are jumping in on this economic opportunity.

Dairy company WhiteWave owns Silk, the popular plant-based milk brand. The largest meat processor in the US, Tyson Foods, recently invested in Beyond Meat, a vegan company that produces a veggie burger that “bleeds” plant blood. Ben and Jerry’s recently jumped on the bandwagon with seven new coconut-based ice cream flavours, and Bailey’s now sells an almond milk version of its iconic creamy liqueur.

Thanks to powerful forces like social media, the disturbing truth about cruelty in animal agriculture is no longer an industry secret. The public is becoming increasingly aware of the animal suffering, environmental impact, and health risks caused by consuming these products. The growth of the plant-based food sector is fuelled by increased consumer concern, and that won’t go away anytime soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animal Justice

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