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Criminal Charges Dropped Against Animal Advocate Jenny McQueen

Animal Justice May 1, 2019

Prosecutors in London, Ontario withdrew all charges today against animal rights advocate Jenny McQueen. McQueen was facing charges of break and enter and mischief after entering a pig breeding facility in Lucan, Ontario that impregnates mother pigs so their piglets can be fattened up and sent to slaughter. Around 2,600 pigs are confined at the industrial-style breeding facility.

McQueen witnessed hell on earth inside the pig warehouse. She recorded footage of mother pigs confined in gestation crates, forced to produce litter after litter of piglets. Many of the mother pigs suffered from prolapse, with their organs protruding from their bodies. McQueen removed one baby piglet from the facility, who is now safe and healthy.

Prosecutors stated they were withdrawing the charges because there was no reasonable prospect of convicting McQueen. In other words, they felt they could not prove the case against her.

The charges against McQueen had been dubbed the “Pig Trial 2”, reminiscent of the trial of Anita Krajnc, who was acquitted of criminal mischief in 2017 for giving water to thirsty pigs on their way to slaughter. The acquittal came after a high-profile trial that garnered global media coverage and exposed the suffering of pigs in the farming system.

On the steps of the courthouse, McQueen called the day “an absolute win for animal rights activism”, but noted that she was disappointed her case would not get to trial because “so many people needed to hear what is happening” inside industrial farms. She promised to continue to raise awareness because animal agriculture is concealing the truth from consumers, “lying to the general public with terms like ‘humane’ and ‘well-cared for’.”

McQueen’s lawyer Gary Grill noted that charging animal advocates is a huge waste of court resources, but also a tremendous opportunity to expose the cruel reality of modern farming. Grill stated that he was unaware of whether the animal farming industry had pushed for the charges against McQueen to be laid, or had asked for them to be withdrawn, but that criminal trials are damaging to the farming industry because disturbing footage of cruelty is inevitably played in court.

Grill stated that as animal advocacy continues to intensify, he anticipates intense, well-funded lobbying on behalf of the meat and fur industries, who want to turn activism into a serious terrorism offence and introduce ag gag-style restrictions on filming conditions on farms.

This lobbying may already be underway. Last month, Animal Justice reported that a fur industry representative asked the House of Commons Agriculture Committee to enact US-style terrorism laws to lock up activists who expose cruelty on fur farms.

 

 

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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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Chilliwack Workers Sentenced To Jail Time for Dairy Cow Abuse

Animal Justice May 18, 2017

Three B.C. men have been sentenced to jail time after pleading guilty to violently abusing cows at Chilliwack Cattle Sales—Canada’s largest dairy farm.

As reported in The Vancouver Sun, two workers were sentenced to 60 days in jail, to be served on weekends, and are banned from owning animals for three years. A third worker was sentenced to seven days in jail and a one-year ban on owning animals.

The cow abuse dates back to 2014, when Mercy For Animals released an undercover video exposing abuse at the farm. The footage showed workers repeatedly hitting, beating, kicking, punching, and whipping cows with chains and canes; a cow being lifted by a tractor with a chain around her neck; and workers abusing a pigeon.

Chilliwack Cattle Sales president Kenneth Kooyman and director Wesley Kooyman were fined $300,000 late last year after they pleaded guilty to several counts of animal cruelty on behalf of the dairy. Four more former workers are set to face trial, starting on Friday, May 19.

The Chilliwack case highlights a gaping flaw in Canada’s legal system: Animals on farms aren’t protected by effective oversight. Farms aren’t required to be licenced, employees aren’t required to have any training, and the government does not inspect or monitor farms for animal welfare measures.

Even when there is no overt abuse or neglect of animals, many consumers are surprised to learn that standard industry practices—which are considered legal by authorities—still involve extreme animal suffering.

For example, on dairy farms, calves are taken from their mothers at birth so the milk can be sold by the dairy industry. The baby calves are fed formula before they’re killed for veal (in the case of male calves) or used as dairy cows themselves (in the case of female calves). All dairy cows are killed when they become less profitable, at only a fraction of their natural lifespan.

Research by Animal Justice shows that more than 771 million animals were killed for food in 2016, making the treatment of farmed animals a pressing social issue.

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