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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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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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Have Your Say: Government Developing Food Policy for Canada

Animal Justice July 12, 2017

The federal government is developing Canada first-ever food policy! A national food policy would address the entire food cycle—from the moment seeds are planted, until the food is prepared and eaten. The policy will set a long-term vision for the health, environmental, social, and economic goals related to food, while identifying actions Canada can take in the short-term. The government’s stated goals are to:

  1. increase access to affordable food;
  2. improve health and food safety
  3. conserve our soil, water and air; and
  4. grow more high-quality food.

The government wants to hear from you before July 27, 2017! This is an incredible opportunity to speak up against unsustainable animal agriculture, encourage the growth of healthful plant crops, and push for improved access to plant-based foods.

Have your say! Visit the consultation website to take the survey. Here are some key points that you may wish to include:

Are there any objectives missing?

There are major current and emerging market opportunities in plant-based and cultured meat, dairy, and eggs. Plant-based replacements for these animal foods are more environmentally sustainable, better for personal health, better for public health (less food-borne illness, pandemic risk, and antibiotic resistance), and better for the animals, who endure intensive confinement conditions under the current system.

Conserving soil, water, and air

Research from internationally respected think tank Chatham House has found that reducing global meat consumption is essential if we are to keep global warming below the “danger level” of two degrees Celsius. Moreover, the public believes it is the responsibility of government to spearhead efforts to address unsustainable consumption of meat.

Affordable food

Plant-based sources of protein are significantly cheaper than animal flesh. At a Canadian grocery store recently, extra lean ground beef was more than five times more expensive than tofu, chickpeas, or red lentils.

The government should develop policies to encourage consumption of healthful, sustainable, and affordable pulses (i.e., beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas). The government should also ensure healthful fruits and vegetables are affordable and accessible to all, and focus on increasing their consumption.

Improving health and food safety

In 2016, Canadians consumed per capita 95.06 kg (209.57 lbs) of animal flesh and 19.93 dozen eggs—far exceeding global averages. Health Canada recommends Canadians eat more vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, with a focus on plant-based sources of protein. When it comes to food safety, animal farming contributes to antibiotic resistance, food-borne illness, and pandemics.

For our full comments, please see: Animal Justice’s Food Policy for Canada Submission.

 

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Animal Justice

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