The B.C. SPCA has launched a formal investigation after receiving what it calls a “disturbing” undercover video of multiple workers, including a supervisor, at a chicken-catching service in Chilliwack abusing and torturing broiler chickens.
The undercover video, filmed by the non-profit group Mercy for Animals between May 10 and June 9, 2017, documents numerous acts of animal cruelty and gross noncompliance with federal and provincial laws, regulations, and guideline, the SPCA said Monday (June 12, 2017).
“The images in this video are absolutely sickening and the individual employees and the companies involved need to be held accountable,” said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the B.C. SPCA. “The video shows workers dismembering and killing, throwing, kicking and hitting the birds and forcing the animals into violent sexual acts with one another.”
“The video includes some of the most brutal and sadistic acts of violence against animals I have ever seen,” said Moriarty. “It is extremely difficult to watch.”
The company was hired to round up chickens for transport to a slaughter plant in Port Coquitlam.
Moriarty said the B.C. SPCA received the video from Mercy for Animals on Friday and immediately launched the investigation.
“We will be putting our report to Crown counsel together as quickly as possible and will be recommending multiple charges of animal cruelty under both the Criminal Code of Canada and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.”
Moriarty said the B.C. SPCA is also calling on B.C.’s poultry industry to take immediate action to have the workers suspended and to ensure “that all workers handling broiler chickens and other poultry are at a minimum meeting the standards outlined in the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys and are acting in compliance with animal transportation and cruelty laws.”
Both the supplier and the food company issued statements today (June 13, 2017) condemning the cruelty shown in the videos and pledging to see that the employees responsible are fired.
Moriarty said similar actions were taken two years ago by the dairy industry when a Mercy for Animals undercover video highlighted the abuse of dairy cows in Chilliwack. In that case, a B.C. SPCA investigation led to charges of animal cruelty against the individuals and company involved, as well as widespread industry changes.
“In that case the B.C. SPCA also worked with the provincial government to have the Code of Practice for Dairy Cattle adopted into a new regulation, so that the ‘generally accepted practices’” outlined in the code became clearly entrenched in the law,” said Moriarty.
“We will pursue a similar path with government moving forward with the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys.”
If convicted, the individuals and companies involved in this latest investigation face a fine up to $75,000, a maximum five-year jail sentence and up to a lifetime ban on owning or being around animals.