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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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UBC Received Almost $2 Million from Dairy Industry in Three Years, Access to Info Docs Show

Animal Justice August 24, 2018

VANCOUVER—Freedom of information records obtained by Animal Justice reveal that between 2014 and 2017, the University of British Columbia (UBC) received almost $2 million from at least eight separate dairy industry sources. The majority of the funds came from Dairy Farmers of Canada, an industry lobby group with a mandate to promote dairy products.

UBC operates a Dairy Education and Research Centre, which supports the development of the dairy industry “in B.C. and beyond.”

Funding bias is the well-documented phenomenon by which industry-funded research tends to support the interests of the funder. When industries fund research, the topics being researched and the language in which the results are reported are more likely to favour industry. This, in turn, enhances the industry’s credibility and further entrenches its interests.

review by Animal Justice shows that in recent years, UBC has produced research actively seeking out health benefits of dairy; researching consumer attitudes, which helps the dairy industry better understand how to market to consumers; and identifying which messaging will cause consumers to believe animal welfare is positive on dairy farms, despite UBC’s own research also revealing that dairy farm tours decrease consumer confidence in dairy animal welfare.

“As a UBC alumnus myself, I’m disappointed that this respected academic institution has allowed itself to be so deeply captured by industry interests, undermining its credibility and helping to prop up a dying industry,” said lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice. “Research institutions should be insulated from the economic interests of industries. In this case, the public has an interest in better understanding the health, environmental, and public health consequences of dairy consumption, which will not happen if the research is being funded by the dairy industry itself.”

Up to 90 percent of some ethnicities cannot digest lactose after infancy. Mammalian milk is not a traditional part of the cultural diet for most non-Europeans.

Health Canada is on track to remove the dairy category from the national food guide, recognizing that cow’s milk and associated dairy foods are not a necessary part of a human diet.

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For more information, contact:

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

Animal Justice

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Animal Justice Files Animal Cruelty Complaint Over University of Calgary Research Lab

Animal Justice August 7, 2018

CALGARY – National animal law non-profit Animal Justice has filed a complaint with the Calgary Humane Society over shocking animal cruelty alleged to have occurred at a University of Calgary psychology research laboratory.

According to a news report, multiple former students have come forward to blow the whistle on disturbing experiments conducted in an addiction research laboratory supervised by assistant professor Devran Lovic. The whistleblowers allege that rats were improperly anesthetized, causing multiple rats to wake up during surgery. On at least one occasion, researchers allegedly continued to perform surgery on a conscious rat, restraining the distressed animal with a surgical pad while his back and neck were cut open.

Lovic has been on leave since December 2017, and the University apparently shut down his laboratory in March.

“Slicing open live, conscious rats is a clear violation of both federal and provincial animal cruelty laws, and that’s why authorities must investigate the University of Calgary and prosecute this shocking mistreatment,” said animal rights lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “It is illegal to perform surgery on an animal without appropriately administering anesthesia, and researchers have a legal obligation to ensure rats spared discomfort during the entire surgical period. It’s heartbreaking to think of the horrific trauma these rats would have endured when they regained consciousness during painful, invasive surgery.”

Animal Justice is also criticizing the University of Calgary’s response to the troubling allegations, and is calling on the University to come clean and release publicly any documents associated with the experiments in question.

Federally, Canada has the weakest laws in the western world for protecting animals used in research. Unlike in other countries, here are no federal laws, no inspectors, no public inspection reports, and no way for the public to effectively oversee the secretive activities of animal researchers. Instead, there are only voluntary guidelines created and overseen by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC), a non-profit with no legal authority. The CCAC can recommend that the federal granting agencies withdraw research funding from a non-compliant institution. There is no evidence that this has ever occurred or that funding has ever been withheld.

However, Alberta’s provincial Animal Protection Act makes it mandatory for researchers to comply with CCAC guidelines. The CCAC’s Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals states that appropriate anesthesia, proper instrumentation and competent pre- and post-operative care are all essential to the welfare of the experimental animal. It requires that all surgical procedures are to be carried out under anesthesia; that those doing surgery have an obligation to be aware of the efficiency of the anesthetic technique being used; and that it is the responsibility of the surgeon and anesthetist to ensure that this animal is spared discomfort during the entire peri-operative period. Failing to comply with these measures is illegal.

Animal Justice is also calling on the CCAC to recommend that funding be withheld from the institution for failing to comply with CCAC guidelines.

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The Canadian Council on Animal Care Guide to the Care and Use of Experimental Animals can be found here.

For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Join the Animal Justice mailing list

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