VHS demands action from government
Undercover footage taken by Mercy for Animals/Canada revealed that Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors failed to stop blatant abuse of pigs being transported to slaughter in Red Deer, Alberta. VHS is calling for enforcement of existing laws and updated legislation to protect these vulnerable animals (see our letter below).
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October 16, 2014
The Honourable Gerry Ritz
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
1341 Baseline Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C5
Dear Minister Ritz,
I was appalled to see undercover video footage exposing brutal animal abuse in Canada’s livestock transportation sector. The video shows animals overcrowded in transport trucks without protection from extreme weather or access to food and water; pigs who are so sick or injured they are unable to walk being painfully shocked with electric prods; workers using bolt cutters to break the tusks of male pigs without any painkillers; and animals who were so sick they died during transport.
To see this kind of cruelty under the watch of government inspectors and sometimes even in flagrant violation of existing laws, as weak as they are, is shocking, to say the least. The video captured a CFIA inspector stating, “If anybody has a camera, this will be on the internet” and another offering to get an electric prod for an employee. It’s clear that they know that what they are doing is wrong. CFIA inspectors are there to not only protect public health, but also to enforce animal welfare legislation. I find it shameful that these kinds of atrocities could take place in a civilized country such as Canada.
Canada needs to bring itself in line with other countries with much more progressive protection for farmed animals in transport – countries like the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and the US. Legislation to protect farmed animals, who are raised, transported and slaughtered with little or no oversight, should be fast-tracked in order to ensure not only the humane community, but the public, that the government takes farmed animal welfare seriously. Lastly and most importantly, CFIA inspectors need to be properly trained to do the job they are supposed to be doing.
Judging from the number of investigations done in recent months at farms and slaughterhouses chosen at random, this seems to be the culture of these industries, rather than an anomoly. I look forward to hearing the steps the Canadian government will take to address these issues.
Vancouver Humane Society