Secret videos capture alleged animal abuse inside B.C. slaughterhouse

WARNING: The details and images associated with this story may disturb some readers and viewers.

An investigation into a BC slaughterhouse for suspected animal cruelty is underway following the release of a video obtained by animal advocacy groups across the country.

on wednesday, animal justice filed a legal complaint against Meadow Valley Meats, claiming that staff at the facility “forcefully punched and kicked” cows, sheep and goats before slaughtering the animals.

“We received an anonymous email with a shocking video that appeared to have been filmed inside Meadow Valley Meats,” said Camille Labchuck, an attorney and executive director of the organization. “It depicts workers kicking and hitting animals with various tools.”

Lovechuck says the video was filmed late last summer and sent to her organization earlier this month.

She also says the footage appears to have been shot at various locations on the facility. In some places sheep are stuffed into small chutes and beaten repeatedly with paddles. Workers also seem to strangle them and throw them to the ground.

A covert video also shows the cow being slapped with a cane and beaten in the face with an electronic wand.

“We have seen a number of actions at Meadow Valley Meets that are highly concerning and that we believe are illegal. We feel the slaughter laws are very clear and clear violations are documented on tape. said Lovechuck.

Labchuk and her team have sent legal summaries to the BC SPCA, the BC Department of Agriculture and Food, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The group not only claims there is evidence of animal cruelty, but also of improper slaughter techniques that may violate Canadian regulations governing slaughterhouses.

“At the slaughterhouse, the animal has to be unconscious and in pain before it can be cut open,” said Lovechuck of her Toronto office. “However, the footage does show multiple instances of cows, goats and sheep that appear to show signs of consciousness when or after being inappropriately stunned and cut open.”

Abattoirs can be federally or provincially licensed in Canada and Meadow Valley Meats falls under the BC licensing system.

There are laws to protect farm animals. State Law They are usually responsible for protecting the people on the farm. federal law Guides handling during transport and slaughter.

A requirement of slaughterhouse license holders is to ensure that the handling of food animals does not cause “avoidable injury or death” and does not expose them to “conditions that may cause distress”. It won’t work.

Another rule under federal regulations says that animals cannot be beaten with “whips, sticks, or other objects” unless the animal is rendered unconscious prior to death.

“We have seen animals being abused in many ways, including the use of electric rods on animals, but it is a rule that we are not allowed to do so at the time of slaughter. It’s clearly shown,” Lovechuck said.

On the Meadow Valley Meats website, ” Largest BC processor Beef, veal, lamb and goat meat. ”

But the business has run into problems before. In 2015, he pleaded guilty to selling E. coli-contaminated meat when he called it Pitt Meadow Meats. The company admitted to selling more than 1,000 kilograms of meat before confirming routine inspection results, according to court documents.

All products are halal and distributed to various locations in Metro Vancouver.No one got sick, but the agreed statement of facts said the factory manager deliberately decided don’t forget the contaminated beef.

The company is also linked to two men at the center of Canada’s largest animal cruelty case. Jeff Kooyman and his brother Ken are both listed as directors of his Meadow Valley Meats.

Man fined hundreds of thousands of dollars after sting operation by Mercy for Animals revealed animal cruelty at their dairy farm.

In 2014, nonprofit members went undercover at a Chilliwack cattle company and uncovered what they called “horrible animal cruelty.”

Observations and videos recorded at the dairy between April 30th and May 30th included examples of animal cruelty, including hitting and hitting cows with chains, canes, rakes, and other objects. A number of suspected incidents are listed.

The dairyman eventually pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, and several staff members were jailed for inflicting pain on animals. Landmark ruling.

When CTV News visited the Meadow Valley slaughterhouse, a man who identified himself as the plant manager said he “didn’t know” about the allegations of abuse and misconduct. Instead of explaining further, he said someone at the company would reach out for comment.

In a written statement, the company said it had been notified that “confidentially obtained videos” had been provided to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), BC Meat Inspection, and BC SPCA.

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and BC Meat Inspections are reviewing the footage. We do,” the company said.

As for the footage, it is being reviewed by leading animal welfare experts. Donald Bloom A graduate of the University of Cambridge, UK, he has written hundreds of scientific papers and several books on how to assess animal behavior and ethics regarding animal use.

“Some of these practices are not right, they were cutting corners and they shouldn’t be doing that,” Bloom said from his home in Cambridge.

After reviewing the footage, Bloom drafted a list highlighting concerns. ‘Handling methods’ and ‘facility design’ are two major issues he feels need further review.

“They were lifted by fleece or skin and lifted into the air. It’s very painful and definitely shouldn’t be done,” he said. I have.”

When it comes to how the animals are slaughtered, Bloom points out that not all staff had poor technique. I say it makes it difficult.

“Animal welfare must continue until death, or at least until they become unconscious shortly before death, maximizing their welfare in all living conditions.”

Another Moire Harris internationally recognized expertsalso believes that an external investigation is warranted.

“The animal was being pushed back and being hit in the face with a paddle, which shouldn’t have happened. Also, it shouldn’t have been poked in the face with an electric baton as it hurts a lot.”

Harris, who holds a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan and has spent decades as an animal behavior researcher, is often called upon to re-examine animal husbandry practices, including slaughterhouses.

Analysis of her videos shows problems with how the animals were moved, the layout of the facility, and the type of equipment used. She also questions the extent of training staff receive and whether they are fully aware of slaughterhouse guidelines.

Another concern for Harris is part of a video that shows what appears to be a sheep that can’t walk.

“If a sheep is sick and you don’t know what’s wrong with it, you don’t want it in the food chain,” she said. “From a humane point of view, the animal should no longer be transported or sent through the slaughter process.”

of BCSPCA Video is under review. In a written statement, the agency confirmed that it had received Animal Justice’s legal complaint and “commits to conducting a full investigation”, “as with all complaints received”.

BC Agriculture and Food Minister Pam Alexis said her staff had also received the letter along with “thousands of hours of surveillance video.”

Also in a written statement, she said, “We will look into this situation,” adding, “We know animal welfare is a concern for the public.”

She continued, “Most B.C. farmers and ranchers are passionate about their animals and treat them with respect and care. We expect more than that.”

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