The Farmed Animal Slaughter Industry in Canada: Learning Realities and Facts, and Considering Ethics

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Animal Voices co-hosted a presentation this week by world renowned photojournalist and animal activist Jo-Anne McArthur. To start the show, we chat about the event, in which Jo-Anne delivered a grasping and inspiring presentation to a packed room, sharing some of her amazing photos that depict the stories of animals who need our help, from all over the world.

Stephanie Brown, Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, on the Slaughter Industry in Canada

A pig arriving at the slaughter house. Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur.

A pig arriving at the slaughter house. Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur.

Our feature interview is with Stephanie Brown, who is a Director of the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, a non-profit group made up of many member organizations in Canada, and dedicated to promoting the welfare of animals raised for food in Canada through public education, legislative change and consumer choice.

In this interview, Stephanie educates us on the little known facts about the farmed animal slaughter industry in Canada. As both consumers and citizens, it’s important to know how animals are treated and the systems under which they are governed. Stephanie tells us the process in which animals such as cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys are slaughtered and the many problems that arise not even from just the regular standard protocol (ie. transport and stunning via captive bolt or an electric stun bath), but also from deliberate violent abuse by slaughterhouse workers (many who take on this work because they are desperate for employment).

She tells us about the MFA undercover investigation that took place at Maple Lodge Farms in Ontario, which is the largest chicken kill plant in Canada, killing 450,000 – 500,000 chickens (both broilers and spent hens) per day, using both halal and non-halal kill systems for the meat chickens. This investigation uncovered atrocities such as many chickens arriving for slaughter with their heads and wings crushed, or also completely frozen like hockey pucks from the extreme winter weather, chickens sent through scalding washing machines alive, and much more. The CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) took them to court for 16 outstanding charges, and Stephanie tells us the details on how this played out.

95% of Canadians say they want farmed animals to be treated “humanely”, but even with just the standard processes that the slaughter system requires, is this possible? Stephanie discusses this point and gives us the facts that we need to know.

Here is a short video showing some of the discoveries at the Maple Lodge Farms slaughterhouse in 2015:

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Anna Pippus, Animal Justice, on Halal and Kosher Slaughter in Canada

halal kosherOur first interview is with lawyer Anna Pippus from the non-profit organization Animal Justice, which fights for legal protection of animals in Canada. Working on ongoing campaigns to help farmed animals in Canada, today we address the issue of “non-stun” slaughter practises in Canada – that is, practises used for religious slaughter such as for halal and kosher in which the animal is rendered unconscious (and then dead) by slicing his or her throat with a knife, rather than using a captive stun bolt.

The Ministry of Agriculture is currently working to update the guidelines on these practises, and had a public commentary period out until last week, during which Animal Justice called for a ban on all non-stun slaughter, as well as the religious sacrifice of animals. In this interview, Anna tells us more about this issue and why she wants halal slaughter to be banned, calling the current allowances a “religious loophole”.

Animal Justice’s petition calling to ban non-stun slaughter in Canada can be found here.


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