Union of BC Indian Chiefs rejects factory farming, calls for change

On July 20, 2023, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) issued an open letter to both the provincial and federal Minister’s of Agriculture calling for government action to address the animal welfare, climate and environmental impacts of factory farming.  

The open letter cites UBCIC Resolution 2023-19 “Call to Strengthen Animal Farming Practices and Address the Significant Environmental Impacts of Factory Farming”, which was unanimously endorsed at the UBCIC Chiefs Council in June. 

The Resolution highlights “our spiritual and ethical responsibility to treat our animal relations with respect, reciprocity, and dignity” and that “poor treatment of animals in factory farming practices contravenes the customs, laws, traditions and values of First Nations in BC who maintain deep spiritual connections to all living things, including new animal kin that were brought over by colonization and European settlement.” 

It goes on to note that: 

“Animals on factory farms are one of the most unregulated and unprotected groups of animals in BC and Canada, and their mistreatment during raising, transport and unethical slaughtering practices is a punishable act under the Criminal Code, but the lack of regulation and oversight bodies prevents it from occurring.”

The Resolution also highlights the intersection between factory farming, climate change, habitat and biodiversity loss “that have resulted in the displacement of Indigenous peoples and our animal kin to make room for mass and over-producing factory farms…” 

The UBCIC Chiefs Council issues a powerful call to action for the B.C. and federal governments, urging both to “work with First Nations to co-develop legislation and regulations in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that reduce the impacts of climate change and habitat loss due to factory farming, and reduce the risk of disease and suffering of animals on factory farms, and that provide funding to communities in order to support the transition to better animal welfare practices more aligned with a cruelty-free stance toward animals.”