On February 18, 2020, shocking footage of animal cruelty emerged from inside a King Cole Ducks factory farm in Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario. Members of animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere held a protest outside the farm Ontario, and some of those present then entered a dimly lit, windowless barn on the property to document the conditions… Read more » Animal Justice
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) just fined a meat company $200,000 for five counts of false labelling. The fine was imposed after Eastern Meat Solutions was busted for packaging beef products as prime rib, Angus, and sirloin—when they were not.
This fine is part of a larger, worrying trend by Canada’s food industry regulator: The CFIA prioritizes enforcement when business interests are affected, but neglects enforcement when animal suffering is at stake.
Animal Justice works to expose the epidemic of false animal welfare claims by companies doing business in Canada, along with countless duped consumers, and a nonexistent government response. We filed consumer protection complaints against slaughterhouse Maple Lodge Farms for claiming to treat chickens humanely even while on probation for illegal animal cruelty. We went after supermarket chain Safeway for marketing chicken meat as “certified humane,” even though genetically manipulated birds are crowded in dark warehouses and deprived of everything that makes life worth living. And we caught the Dairy Farmers of Canada red-handed for running deceptive dairy ads disguised as public health announcements. Despite this long list of violations, the CFIA has refused to prosecute or fine companies for false animal welfare claims.
Earlier this year, we told you that the CFIA is overhauling food labelling regulations. One planned change is that it will be easier for food companies to mislead consumers about animal welfare claims like “free range” and “grass fed.” The CFIA plans to make animal welfare claims its lowest enforcement priority, encouraging consumers to take their questions and concerns to the food companies rather than law enforcement. But consumers have no way to verify claims made by companies, which stand to benefit financially from misleading consumers.
But labelling isn’t the CFIA’s only problem—it routinely underenforces animal transport regulations, too. Meat and egg companies often truck animals long distances in freezing cold or blistering hot weather—illegally allowing animals to suffer to death from weather exposure, lack of ventilation, or crowding. Yet transporters typically only face a measly few thousand dollars in fines for these violations—even when an offender has already racked up dozens of prior offences.
Food fraud is wrong, and meat companies should be held accountable for misleading consumers about product quality. But animal suffering is far more troubling, especially when companies lie to consumers about it so they support it financially. In these cases, the animal victims endure physical and emotional agony—not just a lower-quality meal.
If you agree that the life-and-death treatment of sentient animals is more important than the quality of someone’s steak dinner, please write to federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAuley: email@example.com. He needs to hear that the CFIA’s enforcement priorities do not represent the values of caring Canadians.
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The Canadian meat industry did NOT have a good week! Two disturbing meat stories grabbed headlines, reminding the public that animal cruelty, contamination, and false labelling run rampant in animal slaughter and processing.
A Vancouver Sun article exposed B.C. slaughterhouse inspection records obtained under freedom of information laws. Inspectors documented botched animal slaughter, rotting flesh on live animals, insects, and filthy, unsanitary conditions. Many slaughterhouses were contaminated due to improper cleaning, inadequate disinfection, rodent dropping, and insects.
One inspector reported that workers shocked pigs mercilessly with electric cattle prods while screaming at the animals.
In another case, a frightened cow jumped away from the kill floor and couldn’t regain footing for 6 minutes. After breaking a glass jar, he fell back onto the kill floor and was improperly shot, suffering for several minutes before being shot again and bleeding out. Two other cows were terrified by the chaos and broke two boards in their holding pen while frantically trying to escape.
In another report, a cow’s udder was seen detaching from her body, and a vile odour was present, suggesting her flesh was rotting away.
Another inspector documented an overcrowded trailer, which killed 15 birds because of a failure to provide proper airflow.
Fines for slaughterhouse violations are $100,000 for a first conviction and $200,000 per day for a second offence. Despite these extensive animal cruelty and food safety violations, not a single B.C. facility has faced a fine or suspension of operations.
Meanwhile, a University of Guelph study revealed that one in five sausages from grocery stores across Canada contain meat from an animal not disclosed on the label. Of the 27 cow flesh sausages examined, seven actually contained pig meat. One of the 38 pig meat sausages studied contained horse meat. Four out of 20 chicken sausages contained turkey flesh, and one contained cow. Five of the 15 turkey sausages examined were actually made from chickens, with no turkey at all.
And the researchers don’t believe this is simply a case of trace amounts. Instead, the meat-mixing points to either intentional fraud, or major errors in processing.
The meat industry prioritizes profits while misleading consumers, and disregarding animal protection laws and food safety standards. Thanks to the power of media exposés, more and more consumers are aware of the dark side of this industry.
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Thank you to Cameron and Patricia Lloyd for sharing this wonderful update about Nina and Jasper! https://youtu.be/KTlj7Dc754o
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