Cruelty investigation launched into B.C. slaughterhouse after secret video obtained

Melanie Nagy, Kendra Mangione, CTV News, February 22, 2023

WARNING: The details and images associated with this story may be disturbing to some readers and viewers.

An investigation is underway into a B.C. slaughterhouse over alleged animal cruelty, following the release of video obtained by a national animal advocacy group.

On Wednesday, Animal Justice filed a legal complaint against Meadow Valley Meats, claiming staff at the facility were “forcefully hitting and kicking” cows, sheep and goats, before leading the animals to slaughter.

“We received anonymously by mail some shocking footage that appears to be taken inside Meadow Valley Meats,” said Camille Labchuk, lawyer and the organization’s executive director. “It depicts workers kicking and hitting animals with various instruments.”…

“We saw a number of actions at Meadow Valley Meats that are highly concerning and appear to be illegal. Slaughter laws are very, very clear and we feel that there are clear violations caught on tape,” Labchuk said.

Labchuk and her team sent their legal brief to the B.C. SPCA, B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The group is not only alleging there’s evidence of animal abuse, but also improper slaughter techniques that could contravene Canadian regulations governing slaughterhouses.

“At a slaughterhouse an animal must be unconscious and insensible to pain before it can be cut open,” said Labchuk from her Toronto office. “But what the footage shows is multiple examples of cows, of goats, and of sheep who are improperly stunned and then appear to show signs of consciousness as or after they are being cut open.”…

[…Read more at CTV News]



Chilliwack dairy farm workers sentenced to jail in ‘precedent-setting’ ruling

BCSPCAMay 29, 2017

Three dairy farm workers from the Fraser Valley have been sentenced to jail for causing distress to an animal in a landmark ruling.

The sentencing, handed down in Chilliwack Provincial Court last month, stems from a BC SPCA cruelty investigation into Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. after an undercover video showed several employees abusing dairy cows.

Jamie Visser and Chris Vandyke must spend 60 days in jail each; Travis Keefer must spend seven days in jail. All pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges. Visser and Vandyke must also serve six month’s probation and are prohibited from having animals in their custody for three years.

The sentencing of the employees was preceded by the sentencing late last year of  Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. Company president Ken Kooyman and his brother, Wesley, a company director, who pleaded guilty to four counts of animal cruelty. Both were sentenced to pay fines of $75,000 for each of the four counts – the maximum possible. Wesley Kooyman was sentenced to pay $75,000 plus a victim surcharge of $11,250, while Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd., in the person of Ken Kooyman, was fined a total of $225,000 plus a victim surcharge of $33,750. Wesley Kooyman was also prohibited from serving as a director or officer of the company or caring for the farm’s cattle (save feeding them with supervision) for one year….

[… Read more at BCSPCA]


Greenwashing Greens

Angus Taylor, “Greenwashing Greens,” contribution to GTI Forum “Solidarity with Animals,” Great Transition Initiative  (February 2023).

In her opening essay, Eileen Crist does a fine job of describing the massive structural violence against nonhuman animals, the “differential imperative” used to excuse this violence, and the ways in which the human/animal binary has been challenged by animal advocates. She rightly notes the role that the exploitation of animals plays in the growing ecological and social crises facing the world. The magnitude of the problem may be judged by the fact that governments seeking ways to tackle the climate crisis and biodiversity loss will not contemplate any action that would significantly curtail the meat industry, looking instead for technological fixes.[1] Resistance to animal liberation is entrenched even in many who deplore the power of major industries to block necessary societal transformation.

Studies of the cognitive, sensitive, and social lives of animals, coupled with several decades of debate among philosophers, have left the old doctrine of human exceptionalism with little intellectual credibility. No longer is it possible to maintain that a morally relevant line in the sand can be drawn between all humans and all nonhumans on the basis of some intrinsic capacity, like rationality or moral agency. No longer does it make sense to place humans at the pinnacle of some single hierarchy of value….

[Read more at Great Transition Initiative ]


Indigenous language case step toward truth, reconciliation

V. Victoria Shroff, The Lawyer’s DailyFebruary 2, 2023

Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes and affirms Aboriginal rights.

While reconciliation is one of the foundational purposes, we need to understand that Indigenous languages, cultures and laws are interrelated and need to be given space to be expressed in order to meaningfully bring about reconciliation and inclusivity.

Affirming rights and operationalizing reconciliation is bound up with the application of Indigenous languages in our legal system. For the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) to work, law needs to be reflective, and justice must be accessible to all….

[… Read more at The Lawyer’s Daily]


Canadian animal law scorecard: here’s what should happen in 2023

By Victoria Shroff, Canadian Lawyer, Jan. 20, 2023

     To protect animals effectively, we need to do three things. We need to understand animals as sentient, take a stewardship approach to animals under the law and include animal protection issues in access-to-justice conversations.

     It is past time to move away from the outdated and harmful idea that non-human animals are mere property, disposable commodities available to humans to be used as things, treated as inferior. So how did we treat animals under the law in 2022, and will we do better in 2023?

[… Read more at Canadian Lawyer]


Finally Confirmed: Marineland Wants to Sell

Camille Labchuk, Animal JusticeJanuary 25, 2023

The rumours are true. As reported by the Canadian Press, Marineland has registered to lobby the Ontario government with the goal of selling the business, and wants taxpayer cash handouts.

In the Ontario lobbyist registry, the notorious aquarium’s legal representative stated that their goal for lobbying politicians is:

“Sale of Marineland of Canada Inc. Potential zoning changes to the property to permit development. Potential financial support and tax relief for Park development of its operations. Potential requests for relief from taxation in connection with economic development of the tourism development proposal.”

Whatever the future holds for Marineland, we believe the only future for the park is in embracing animal-free tourist entertainment. The park is a nightmare for animals and has a long history of troubling animal welfare violations and cruelty charges.

[… Read more at ]


Justice for Animals by Martha C Nussbaum review – how we became the tyrants of the animal kingdom

A scholarly look at how badly we treat other species employs moral principles to shame us into acknowledging their rights

Rohan Silva, The Guardian, Jan. 31, 2023

The physicist Stephen Hawking once hosted a party for time travellers, but only sent out the invitations after the date had already passed. No one came. If people from the future had turned up, what would most appal them about our society today, apart from Love Island and Suella Braverman? For the prominent American philosopher Martha C Nussbaum, the answer is our treatment of animals, which her sober and sobering new book argues is a moral crime on a monumental scale.

To make her scholarly case, Nussbaum points to the “barbarous cruelties of the factory meat industry”, “habitat destruction” and “pollution of the air and seas” – but casts the ethical net even more widely to ensnare all of us who “dwell in areas in which elephants and bears once roamed” or “live in high-rise buildings that spell death for migratory birds”. We’re all complicit, she argues, no matter how right-on we think we are – and we have “a long overdue ethical debt” to work off.

Over the years, there’s been no shortage of Cassandran prophets alerting us to the cosmic tragedy of species loss and biodiversity destruction. Elizabeth Kolbert, in The Sixth Extinction, attempted to bludgeon us into seeing sense with flinty facts and hard logic. Harvard biologist EO Wilson tried by showing us the wondrous complexity and interconnectedness of life on Earth.

Nussbaum is going a different way, taking aim at the entire system of moral thought that, consciously or not, has led us to treat living things as objects and trash the Eden of our natural world. For her, the original philosophical sin is the idea that animals are “dumb beasts… automata without a subjective view of the world”.

As Justice for Animals rigorously argues, the latest scientific research reveals that the opposite is true: “all vertebrates feel pain subjectively”, many animals “experience emotions like compassion and grief” and display “complicated social learning”. For Nussbaum, the implications are “huge, clearly”. Once we recognise there’s no easy demarcation between human sentience and that of animals, “we can hardly be unchanged in our ethical thinking”….

[… Read more at The Guardian]


Canada to ban cosmetic testing on animals

Marie Woolf, The Globe and Mail, Jan. 20, 2023

Ottawa is poised to ban the testing of cosmetics on animals after years of discussion, a delay animal-welfare advocates say has been embarrassing for Canada.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is set to push forward the changes to the federal Food and Drugs Act, which would also outlaw the sale of cosmetics that were tested on animals, Health Canada confirmed.

The ban would cover a range of products, including make-up, perfume, body lotion, hair-styling products, shaving foam and nail polish. It would extend to cosmetics that contain animal-tested ingredients.

The impending change to the law follows years of campaigning by MPs, and an election pledge by the Liberals to take action on the issue.

More than 40 countries, including Britain, have already banned testing of cosmetic products on animals, as have a number of U.S. states, including California, Maine and Louisiana.

In 2013, the European Union introduced a complete ban on animal cosmetic testing, and on selling cosmetics that were tested that way.

Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith has been critical of delays in introducing a Canadian ban. “We are finally in a place where industry and animal welfare advocates are on the same page,” he said…

[… Read more at The Globe and Mail]


Rodenticide restrictions made permanent in B.C. starting today

BCSPCA, January 24, 2023

After an 18-month temporary restriction period, the provincial government has finally rolled out permanent changes to rodenticide regulations.

The new rules will:

  • ban the sale and use of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs) in residential and non-essential commercial settings
  • increase oversight of rodenticide use
  • require essential services to use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach for rodent control
  • increase training and education on rodenticides for essential services

This policy change is a big step forward for animal welfare – protecting wildlife from exposure to the most dangerous rodenticides, while promoting more effective and humane methods of pest control. BC SPCA experts from our Science & Policy team were consulted during the government’s scientific review, and directly involved in making this change.


Unfortunately, there are still a few gaps in these regulations.

First-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (FGARs) like warfarin, chlorophacinone, and diphacinone are still legal for use. These products are an older, slower-acting, and less potent product compared to SGARs – but rodents still suffer the same effects. Rodents can also develop resistance to these products. Certain non-anticoagulant rodenticides such as bromethalin, which are generally neurotoxins, also remain legal for use.

Given these exceptions, there is still a need to focus on prevention using humane approaches to rodent management, and you can help:

Learn more about humane rodent control, and how to rodent-proof your home
Share our resources for municipal policy changes with your local council
Hire an AnimalKind company, or ask your pest control company to follow AnimalKind standards….

[ … Read more at BCSPCA]


Sen. Rand Paul’s FDA Modernization Act to End Animal Testing Mandates Passes U.S. Senate

Groundbreaking legislation has the potential to spare animals, bring safer and better treatments to patients, and drive down drug prices

Washington, D.C., Global NewswireSept. 29, 2022

Today, the U.S. Senate passed the FDA Modernization Act 2.0, S.5002, without dissent, taking a major step toward enacting a policy that could dramatically reduce testing on dogs, primates, and other animals in the years ahead. The bill, introduced by Senators Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Cory Booker, D-N.J., with 10 other cosponsors, will eliminate a federal mandate for animal testing for new drugs.

The bill also includes language from an additional proposed reform, the Reducing Animal Testing Act, authored by Senator Ben Ray Lujan, D-NM, to amend the Public Health Service Act to remove the animal testing requirement for biosimilars. S. 5002 mirrors provisions of the original FDA Modernization Act provision approved as an amendment to an FDA legislative package taken up in June by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.

“Leaders of the Senate from both parties recognize that the United States must lift an archaic animal-testing mandate for drug development and replace that strategy with 21st-century methods grounded on human biology,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy.

“This is the biggest policy development in Congressional history on the fight to replace animal testing with morally and scientifically superior methods.”“The FDA Modernization Act 2.0 will accelerate innovation and get safer, more effective drugs to market more quickly by cutting red tape that is not supported by current science, and I’m proud to have led the charge with our fellow cosponsors. The passage of this bipartisan bill is a step toward ending the needless suffering and death of animal test subjects – which I’m glad both Republicans and Democrats can agree needs to end,” said Dr. Paul….

[ … Read more at Global Newswire]