July 4, 2017 2:43 pm

BC SPCA investigating Abbotsford poultry farm for alleged animal cruelty

FILE PHOTO: The BC SPCA is appealing to the provincial government to adopt standards that already exist for domesticated animals, to be applied to farm animals.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
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WARNING: This story contains disturbing details describing alleged instances of animal cruelty. Discretion is advised.

The BC SPCA is appealing to the provincial government to adopt standards that already exist for domesticated animals, to be applied to farm animals.

Their plea comes on the heels of investigating a new case of chicken industry abuse.

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On June 28, an Abbotsford resident was out walking when she witnessed alleged abuse at a chicken facility. She then recorded workers “clutching multiple chickens upside down in each hand, throwing the struggling chickens into crates, and shoving the crates closed while chickens’ legs and wings were still protruding.”

Following the alleged abuse, Animal Justice filed a complaint with the BC SPCA, which initiated an investigation. Animal Justice is now calling for charges under the provincial Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

“When rounded up for slaughter, chickens farmed for meat routinely endure unfathomable cruelty,” said lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice in a statement.

“It is well-documented that these vulnerable baby animals are frightened and stressed, regularly suffering from broken bones, dislocated joints, bruising, and bleeding. Animal Justice’s position is that business-as-usual in the chicken industry violates animal protection laws that prohibit causing animals to be in distress. If someone were treating puppies this way, we’d be outraged and demand prosecution. Chickens are no different in their desire to be free from suffering and we should equally protect them from harm.”

The BC SPCA is now investigating if any animal protection laws have been broken.

This investigation comes weeks after six employees were fired following the release of undercover footage allegedly showing appalling brutal and sadistic treatment of chickens on several B.C. poultry farms.

The video, which was filmed by a member of an animal rights group working undercover, allegedly shows birds being shoved and thrown against the wall.

“The video includes some of the most brutal and sadistic acts of violence against animals I have ever seen,” Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer with the SPCA, said at the time.

WATCH: Shocking video uncovers cruelty to chicken at B.C. farm

The chicken catchers were hired by Elite Farm Services to transport poultry from local farms to a Lilydale slaughterhouse.

A volunteer with Mercy for Animals posed as a fellow worker and secretly recorded their behaviour.

“He reported the abuses to his supervisor and the Lilydale supervisor on multiple occasions. There was no action taken.” Krista Hiddema of Mercy For Animals said.

WATCH: Mercy For Animals speaks to the media about the disturbing undercover video 

Following the incident, Elite Services president Dwayne Dueck issued a statement saying that the company has also made it mandatory for one supervisor and two staff members in each barn to wear cameras on their safety vests “to capture the activity within the barn.” All video will be reviewed and then kept for 30 days.

In a social media post, the BC SPCA is asking people to tell the Minister of Agriculture that animal lives matter.

~ with files from Tanya Beja

 

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