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Canada Killed More Than 800 Million Land Animals for Food in 2017

Animal Justice April 17, 2018

Slaughter reports from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada show we killed over 800,756,236 land animals for food in 2017—up from 771 million in 2016 and 750 million in 2015. The growth is mostly because more chickens are being killed for meat. This is in part due to population growth, but per capita consumption of chickens (including chickens eaten and lost to food waste) is also steadily rising.

Here are the numbers broken down by sector:

Meat chickens: 711,459,823
Egg-laying hens and breeding chickens: 36,580,473
Turkeys: 20,248,949
Ducks and geese: 6,428,062
Pigs: 20,728,785 (federally) 864,871 (provincially)
Adult cows (dairy and meat): 2,831,766 (federally) 151,484 (provincially)
Calves: 199,409 (federally) 36,640 (provincially)
Sheeps and lambs: 170,576 (federally) 371,516 (provincially)
Goats: 68,709
Bisons: 9,369 (federally) 1,517 (provincially)
Rabbits: 604,287

But these numbers don’t paint the full picture. The government concealed horse slaughter numbers this year, so tens of thousands of horses killed are likely not accounted for here.

The numbers also don’t include aquatic animals, whose deaths aren’t tracked. However, we do know that last year we killed 160,054 tonnes of farmed finned fish (e.g., salmon and trout), accounting for millions of individual lives.

Deers, elks, and wild boars are also killed in Canadian slaughterhouses but no data is available.

Animals killed by the animal agriculture industry outside of slaughterhouses are also not accounted for, including the male chicks killed at birth in hatcheries ,and the millions of animals who die prematurely of illnesses and injuries on farms and during transport.

 

Photo courtesy of Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals

 

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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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Statement on Animal Cruelty Charges Against Ontario Pig Farmer

Animal Justice June 21, 2017

LONDON, ON—The Ontario SPCA has filed eight provincial animal cruelty charges against a pig farmer after more than 1,265 dead pigs were found in his flooded, manure-filled barn with no access to food. An additional 250 pigs were euthanized on-site.

The investigation followed a complaint of animal cruelty from a member of the public. According to a news release, a representative of Ontario Pork—the industry association that represents the interests of pig farmers—attended with law enforcement to inspect the property and animals.

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy with Animal Justice, said: “When animals are used as commodities, they will be treated like commodities. This case demonstrates exactly what happens when we use smart, sentient animals for their instrumental value to us. Today’s farms are warehouses operated by business people producing meat, dairy, and eggs as quickly and as cheaply as possible.”

“The government does not regulate the treatment of animals on farms. This horrific case only came to light because a member of the public managed to see the suffering animals and was willing to come forward as a witness. Who knows how many more animals are suffering near-death in torturous conditions, concealed in windowless warehouses on private property. It’s a no-brainer that all commercial animal enterprises should be regulated by the government and regularly inspected.”

“It’s also concerning that Ontario Pork, which represents the interests of pig farmers, was present with law enforcement as they investigated the animal cruelty complaint. This is a clear conflict of interest. Farms may be tipped off to impending raids and laws may be enforced less stringently when industry interests are involved. Law enforcement bodies must be independent, especially from those who financially benefit when laws are enforced leniently.”

“The farmer should have been charged with criminal animal cruelty rather than the less serious provincial regulatory offences that he is now facing. Neglecting animals by trapping them without food in a flooded, manure-filled barn is unacceptable cruelty that deserves the strongest possible condemnation from our legal system.

“Our animal protection laws operate as a two-tier system: cats and dogs benefit from protection from cruelty while pigs, cows, and chickens are exposed to egregious suffering in the course of business-as-usual. Failing to lay criminal animal cruelty charges in clear cases like this one reinforces this problematic species discrimination.”

 

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For more information, contact:

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

Photo: Mercy For Animals

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