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Canadians Just Forced the Government to Address Animal Welfare in Slaughter Laws

Animal Justice January 15, 2018

Last year, we told you that the federal government is overhauling Canada’s decades-old slaughter regulations as part of a food safety modernization initiative. We told you that in the entire introduction to the update (over 22,000 words), animal protection wasn’t even mentioned once.

We explained the many ways that the proposed slaughter rules would permit inhumane treatment of animals. We submitted a detailed critique to the government, and mobilized you, our supporters, to do the same.

We’re pleased to tell you that the government has heard us. In the recently issued ‘What We Heard Report‘, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) identified a lack of attention to animal welfare as a key theme that emerged from the public consultation period.

According to the CFIA, 1717 written submissions were received, many of which “supported further strengthening the proposed animal welfare requirements, including a petition signed by Canadians in support of recommendations for more humane treatment of animals.”

In particular, “more precise training protocols, and specific and stronger language were requested for the humane treatment of animals prior to, and during, slaughter.” The CFIA will now revisit the draft regulations, taking this feedback into account.

Our specific criticisms of the draft slaughter regulations were:

  • live-hanging of birds (who represent 97 percent of animals killed for food in Canada) is still allowed, even though this method is known to cause horrific pain and fear to the sensitive creatures.
  • they fail to address the well-documented margin of error on fast-moving slaughter lines—many animals are improperly stunned and drowned, scalded, or skinned alive.
  • sentient aquatic animals like fishes, crustaceans, and octopuses are entirely excluded from slaughter rules.
  • non-stun (ritual) slaughter continues to be permitted, even though it’s opposed by veterinary and animal welfare organizations around the world.
  • cruel electric prods continue to be permitted.
  • government inspectors aren’t required to always be on-site during slaughter.
  • the proposed rules use are difficult to enforce due to vague wording. For example, instead of setting out exactly how much space each animal should have, they simply require animals to have “sufficient space.”
  • the agriculture industry will be allowed to define values claims such as “free range,” even though these marketing terms are deliberately used to mislead consumers.

Thank you to the countless compassionate animal advocates who spoke up! Sometimes it can feel discouraging to fight against the billion-dollar animal agriculture industry, which has the ear of government officials and often gets its way. But we have justice and compassion on our side, and together, we are making a difference for animals. Our voices are starting to be heard, and those voices will only get louder in the years to come—all thanks to you.

We’ll keep you updated on the next steps in forcing the government to take animal protection seriously in its regulatory updates. 

To help, please sign up to our mailing list and stay tuned for ways to get involved.

Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur /Djurrattsalliansen

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Animal Justice

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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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Canadians killed more than 771 million land animals for food in 2016

Animal Justice May 10, 2017

Slaughter report from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada show we killed 771,625,940 land animals for food in 2016—up from 750 million farmed animals killed the previous year. The growth is mostly because more chickens than ever are being killed for meat.

Here are the numbers broken down by sector:

Meat chickens: 681,913,737
Egg-laying hens and broiler breeders: 37,877,047
Turkeys: 21,732,157
Pigs: 21,261,873
Adult cows: 2,802,568
Calves: 236,858
Horses: 53,763
Sheeps and Lambs: 552,800
Goats: 57,118
Bisons: 11,568
Rabbits: 621,431
Ducks/geese: 5,057,820

These numbers don’t even include aquatic animals, which the government only tracks by weight.

It also doesn’t include thousands of deers, elks, and wild boars killed in Canadian slaughterhouses for which 2016 numbers are not available.

These death statistics also don’t include the millions of male chicks killed at birth in the egg industry, the animals killed on farms by unconscionable euthanasia methods, and the animals who suffered to death before even reaching the slaughterhouse.

 

Animal Justice

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