WATCH: Maple Lodge Farms, one of Ontario’s top chicken producers, is launching an investigation after an animal rights group posted video footage it says shows “horrific animal abuse” inside a Brampton, Ontario slaughter house. Mark Carcasole reports.
TORONTO – Maple Lodge Farms, one of Ontario’s top chicken producers, is launching an investigation after an animal rights group posted video footage it says shows “horrific animal abuse” inside a Brampton, Ontario slaughter house.
Mercy for Animals said it obtained hidden camera footage of alleged slaughtering practices used in the Toronto-area poultry plant.
The group claims some birds are allowed to die of cold while being transported to the plant.
Workers are heard on video referring to the chickens as “hockey pucks” and “popsicles.”
WARNING: Graphic and disturbing video. Discretion is strongly advised. Hidden camera video released by animal rights organization Mercy for Animals allegedly shows abuse of chickens inside Maple Lodge Farms facility.
Birds that survived the trip to the slaughter house are “quickly and violently shackled upside down” and attached to the slaughter line, Mercy for Animals claims in the video.
Workers are ordered to hang severely “sick and injured” birds on the slaughter line.
In response to video, Maple Lodge Farms CEO Michael Burrows said the company has taken “immediate steps to verify the facts.”
“Some of the images in the video are disturbing and are not in keeping with our standards. We assure you of our prompt attention to this very serious matter,” Burrows said.
WATCH: Maple Lodge Farms CEO responds to hidden camera video showing alleged abuse at facility.
On Monday, Krista Osborne, Canadian managing director for Mercy For Animals, called on Maple Lodge farms to adopt “”meaningful animal welfare policies, and switching to slaughter systems with no suffering.”
Also on Monday, the Ontario SPCA said it’s aware of the video and is in “consultation with industry experts.”
“The Ontario SPCA takes reports of cruelty and mistreatment seriously and will follow up appropriately pending the review of the information that was provided to us,” Inspector Brad Dewar said in a statement.
In September 2013, Maple Lodge Farms was convicted of two breaches of the Health of Animals Act. The company pleaded guilty to 18 additional charges last March.
The chicken producer was ordered to spend at least one million dollars over the next three years to modify its transport vehicles and make other changes to ensure humane treatment for the birds.
–with files from The Canadian Press and Global News reporter Mark Carcasole