Chicken abuse video: Protesters want cameras from farm to processing plant
Protesters are pictured outside the Lilydale chicken processing plant in Port Coquitlam Saturday afternoon after the recent release of a Mercy for Animals undercover video showing several chicken catchers allegedly hitting, kicking and throwing birds as they rounded them up to be sent for slaughter at the Lilydale facility. (Francis Georgian/Postmedia Network)
A former undercover farm investigator says farms and slaughterhouses should be required to live stream their operations to the Internet for all to see.
Second only to his "ultimate solution" — the elimination of meat from the human diet — Geoff Regier said video monitoring would allow the public to understand the chain of events that puts animal protein on our dinner plates, while providing better accountability.
"No one would sit down and watch footage from a slaughterhouse for fun, but I think people want to know what's going on," he said.
About 40 concerned citizens were protested in front of the Lilydale chicken processing plant in Port Coquitlam Saturday afternoon after the recent release of a Mercy for Animals undercover video showing several chicken catchers allegedly hitting, kicking and throwing birds as they rounded them up to be sent for slaughter at the Lilydale facility.
WARNING: VIDEO HAS GRAPHIC CONTENT
SPCA spokeswoman Marcie Moriarty said investigators hope to forward a report to Crown counsel recommending multiple charges of animal cruelty in response to the video, while in a statement released last week, the chicken-catching company said it had fired six staff members, including two who were let go before the release of the footage.
The statement from Elite Services said it has updated its standards and procedures, undertaken organization-wide retraining, and asked all employees to sign documents affirming their understanding of the company's care procedures.
It also said it will now be mandatory for one supervisor and two staff members in each barn to wear cameras on their vests, with the video reviewed at the end of the day.
The idea of using cameras to ensure compliance with animal welfare laws is not new. Earlier this year, a bill to install CCTV in slaughterhouses in France passed first reading in the national assembly. The law was proposed after after animal rights groups published footage of workers killing animals without stunning them first. Israeli slaughterhouse are also required to record their activities. The idea has even been floated in the United States, where food is cheaper than in many developed countries, but it is not mandatory.
In Canada, the CFIA performs inspections of all federally-registered meat establishments. There have been several times in the past decade where animal rights groups have released hidden camera footage and raised questions about animal treatment.
In a statement last week, Sofina Foods, owner of the Lilydale plant, said the company was exploring various options for catching bird services and would be instituting "additional monitoring and surveillance procedures to ensure that all appropriate and necessary guidelines and practices are followed."