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Pig Scrambles Violate Animal Cruelty Laws, Says Animal Justice

Animal Justice March 29, 2017

CHARLOTTETOWN – National animal law organization Animal Justice has sent a letter to law enforcement authorities in Prince Edward Island advising that “pig scramble” events likely violate federal and provincial animal cruelty laws and must not be allowed to proceed.

The PEI Plowing Match and Agricultural Fair in Dundas has held pig scrambles in past years, but has been under intense scrutiny this year after a petition calling for its cancellation began attracting support and national media attention. The petition has over 3,100 signatures to date. Pig scrambles have already been cancelled at other Maritime fairs due to concerns over animal cruelty, including the Westmoreland Fair in Petitcodiac, NB, and the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition in Truro, NS.

“Federal and provincial laws are clear: It’s illegal to cause distress and suffering to animals,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Pig scrambles are cruel and unnecessary events that cause baby animals to experience intense fear and psychological trauma at being chased around a ring for human amusement. These outdated entertainment events are not exempt from animal cruelty laws.”

Animal Justice is asking authorities to prosecute violations of animal cruelty laws at the Dundas Plowing Match pig scramble if it does go ahead. According to news reports, the event directors are considering the future of the pig scramble.

Animal Justice’s letter was sent to Agriculture and Fisheries Minister J. Alan McIsaac, Department of Agriculture inspectors, the provincial veterinarian, the PEI Humane Society, and the Montague detachment of the RCMP.

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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The CFIA Wants to Make It Easier to Mislead Consumers About Meat, Dairy, and Eggs

Animal Justice February 24, 2017

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is overhauling food labelling regulations, which include animal welfare claims on meat, dairy, and egg packaging like “free range” and “grass fed.” But instead of cracking down on the epidemic of false animal welfare claims, the government plans to weaken regulations and introduce new loopholes.

The CFIA wants to make animal welfare and related “consumer values” claims its lowest enforcement priority. In other words, the agency won’t proactively define and regulate claims about how farmed animals are treated, and may not even bother investigating companies for blatantly false animal welfare claims.

Instead, the CFIA wants to make it consumers’ responsibility to contact companies themselves to find out what their animal welfare claims mean. According to the CFIA, industry has a “legal and ethical responsibility” to ensure labelling claims are not misleading. But consumers have no way of verifying information provided by companies, which stand to benefit financially from misleading consumers.

If consumers are concerned about false labelling claims made by companies, the CFIA is proposing that consumers make their complaints directly to the companies themselves. In other words, if a company’s packaging uses misleading imagery or language, consumers have to first complain to the company. The CFIA will only pay attention to a consumer complaint if a company has provided an insufficient response, and will only investigate once multiple complaints are received.

cfia labelling

The CFIA wants to make it consumers’ responsibility to monitor and verify animal welfare claims.

Animal farming is notoriously secretive. It takes place on private property in windowless facilities, with virtually no government oversight. Consumers have no ability to monitor these industries ourselves, which is why we expect our government to step in and protect consumers from being duped by false claims.

Labelling is a crucial component of informed consumer choices. Consumers should be able to rely on the words and images used on labels being accurate and truthful. And in fact, polling shows 82 percent of consumers want clearer animal welfare labelling.

Previous work by Animal Justice has highlighted an epidemic of false animal welfare claims, misinformed consumers, and a nonexistent government response. We’ve filed consumer protection complaints against slaughterhouse Maple Lodge Farms for claiming to treat chickens humanely even while on probation for illegal animal cruelty; against supermarket chain Safeway for marketing chicken meat as “certified humane,” even though birds are crowded in dark barns and deprived of anything that makes life worth living; and against the Dairy Farmers of Canada for running deceptive dairy ads disguised as public health announcements.

Meanwhile, the European Union understands the importance of addressing animal welfare labelling, recognizing that if consumers lack information, “there is very little motivation for more producers to improve animal welfare and market their products accordingly.”

It’s not too late to tell the CFIA to monitor animal welfare labelling claims! Here’s what to do: Simply go to their online survey before March 15. Skip ahead to “Stream 2,” which is 88% of the way through the survey.

For Question 2, select “no.”

For Question 2i), explain that animal farming lacks transparency and government must ensure consumers are able to make informed choices.

For Question 2ii), explain that welfare claims must be regulated, and they must be the responsibility of government (not industry and consumers).

If you’re pressed for time, you could also simply fill in our petition here.

Thank you for taking action for animals.

Image: Egg-laying hens inside a “cage-free” farm, courtesy Direct Action Everywhere.

Animal Justice

297 total views, 0 today

Authorities Investigating After Witness Documents Blood Streaming from Cow Transport Truck

Animal Justice September 1, 2016

CAMBRIDGE, ON—The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is investigating after a witness saw blood streaming from and caked onto the side of a transport truck at a rest station. Video footage shot at the scene shows a cow with a gaping, bleeding wound aboard the truck, which had Manitoba plates.

Witness Amber Gionet said: “I couldn’t believe how much blood I saw all over the truck, with even more blood coming out of a cow’s open wound. It was heartbreaking to see these gentle and curious animals in such an ugly situation. They deserve so much better than to be injured and forgotten on a transport truck in the middle of the night.”

Ontario law prohibits animal cruelty, and specifically requires animals be transported in a way that ensures their physical safety and welfare. Federal law prohibits over-crowding animals or transporting injured animals, and requires trucks to be free from protrusions or other construction flaws that injure animals.

Veterinarian Maureen Harper reviewed the video footage and said: “This wound appears to be quite severe and the animal would be suffering. Possible causes of the wound are overcrowding, or sharp protrusions or fittings on the vehicle; or it could have been an older wound that was re-opened in transit. This incident needs to be investigated.”

The witnessed reported the incident to the Ontario SPCA which declined to open an investigation, instead instructing the witness to call the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). OMAFRA in turn instructed the witness to call the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice, said: “Canadian animal welfare laws are notoriously weak and under-enforced. This is a case-in-point of how egregious animal cruelty slips through the cracks. We see far too much farmed animal suffering chalked up to business as usual, while law enforcement plays hot potato with animal cruelty reports.”

Animal transport laws are under scrutiny right now as an Ontario woman stands trial for giving water to heat-stressed pigs aboard a transport truck—she has been charged with criminal mischief for interfering with the farmer’s property, his pig. Canadian transport laws are decades old and have been widely criticized for being the worst in the Western world. Drivers aren’t required to have any animal welfare training or licensing.

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

Animal Justice

321 total views, 1 today

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