WARNING: This story contains disturbing details describing alleged instances of animal cruelty. Discretion is advised.
A Chilliwack, B.C., man and two companies are facing dozens of animal cruelty charges related to an incident of alleged chicken abuse caught on a disturbing undercover video.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said that as a result of its investigation, 38 charges have been laid against Elite Farm Services, its president Dwayne Dueck, and Lilydale parent company Sofina Foods under the Health of Animals Regulations.
The CFIA alleges the two companies and Dueck “did unlawfully beat an animal, to wit: chickens, being loaded or unloaded in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to it … and did unlawfully load or cause to be loaded an animal, to wit: chickens, in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to it,” contrary to the regulations.
WARNING – Disturbing content: Shocking video uncovers cruelty to chicken at B.C. farm
The charges relate to a video captured by animal rights group Mercy for Animals in June 2017.
The video allegedly shows employees of Elite Farm Services, a Chilliwack chicken-catching service, throwing, kicking and killing chickens.
At the time, Elite was working to transport the birds to a Lilydale slaughterhouse.
BC SPCA chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty later described the images as “absolutely sickening” and “some of the most brutal and sadistic acts of violence against animals I have ever seen.”
WARNING – Disturbing content: BC SPCA investigates alleged chicken “torture” in Chilliwack
In the wake of the video’s release, six Elite Services employees were fired, and the company made it mandatory for at least one supervisor and two employees in each barn to wear video cameras on their work vests.
That measure drew a reprimand from B.C.’s privacy watchdog, which said the company was violating its workers’ rights by constantly recording employees.
Dueck and Elite Farm Services could not immediately be reached for comment.
In a statement, Sofina Foods described Elite as an “independent, third-party service contractor” it had hired and said the company was currently reviewing the information provided by the CFIA.