Oct. 26, 2022
Dear Minister Popham and the Ministry of Agriculture,
We are writing in reference to the article published in Country Life in BC (October 2022, vol. 108 no. 10) confirming that the Ministry will be doing a review of the farmed animal welfare framework between now and spring 2023. We are grateful that the Ministry of Agriculture is actively taking action to consider the lives of farmed animals.
The Vancouver Humane Society represents 36,800 supporters who are concerned about the state of animal welfare for farmed animals in British Columbia. Over the past 10 years, undercover footage filmed on farms raising cows for milk, cattle for beef, pigs for meat, chickens for meat, and hens for eggs, has demonstrated that these animals are in a dire state. From being plucked bare, legs being pulled off, animals being actively abused, stereotypical behaviour like bar-biting, untreated wounds, trampled animals, and inhumane euthanasia methods, animals are not given the consideration they deserve as sentient beings.
Since the publishing of Animal Machines by Ruth Harrison in 1964, there have been disturbingly few changes to address the suffering of farmed animals. Minister Popham, you previously advocated for animals and ending their suffering when serving as the opposition party. The Ministry of Agriculture has the unique ability to significantly reduce the suffering of millions of animals each year by introducing measures that ensure true public transparency. A focus on ‘public trust’, while making no measurable changes to the suffering of animals, is unconscionable, and yet has been the primary approach of the Ministry of Agriculture to date.
We ask for the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct a thorough review which considers the importance of transparency, specifically, one that recognizes the importance of conducting consistent farm audits and making publicly available the findings of the audits. This is the only mechanism that could ensure that there is transparency that results in meaningful outcomes for the animals affected. The Vancouver Humane Society also asks to be included in all stakeholder consultation related to the farmed animal review as an animal protection agency with a British Columbia focus that exists outside of the role of enforcement.
Thank you for your serious consideration of the suffering experienced by sentient farmed animals and of our request to be included as a stakeholder in the review process,