Facility vows to end abuse

The chairman of the Western Hog Exchange says his organization is taking steps to prevent the kind of animal abuse that was shown on video broadcast by CTV’s investigative program W5 on Saturday.

The chairman of the Western Hog Exchange says his organization is taking steps to prevent the kind of animal abuse that was shown on video broadcast by CTV’s investigative program W5 on Saturday.

The images, which were recorded secretly by a member of Mercy For Animals Canada at Western Hog Exchange’s handling facility in Red Deer, showed pigs that had been badly injured in transport, were packed tightly into holding pens, and were being kicked and beaten by workers.

“At the end of the day, I take responsibility for what we have done and I pledge that we will make changes and improve it,” said Brent Moen.

“We have clearly communicated to all of our employees what our expectation is; we have clearly outlined to them the consequences of improper action; and we have followed up on that by dismissing one employee and dismissing two others.”

Moen said he didn’t want to minimize the seriousness of this matter, but pointed out that the abuses recorded occurred over a two-month period, and that the video did not show what happened immediately prior to or after the mistreatment.

“To imply that it happens every day, I don’t believe it does. But that said, we are making changes to better manage what happens in our facilities, and I can assure you if it does happen the people that violate our code of practice will be dealt with.”

Moen said a team of veterinarians, and livestock transport and handling expert Jennifer Woods, have each inspected the Red Deer facility and provided recommendations for improvement. Periodic inspections will also be conducted in the future, he added.

The Western Hog Exchange has asked Mercy For Animals Canada to release the video to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) so that they might investigate, but Mercy For Animals Canada has so far not responded, said Moen.

“Mercy For Animals has an agenda in this.”

The animal rights organization issued a news release on Monday, in which it quoted Ian Duncan, a professor emeritus of applied ethology at the University of Guelph, as saying the video depicts “some of the worst abuse of animals” that he has ever seen.

It also showed CFIA officials on site while animals were being mistreated but apparently not responding.

A statement issued by the CFIA said it’s requested that the video be provided to it for review, but that Mercy For Animals Canada has refused. It added that it’s launched an internal review and met with inspection staff in the area to discuss their animal welfare responsibilities.

Moen said he’s concerned about the negative impact the video could have on people’s perception of livestock producers and processors, and acknowledged that he’s been subjected to verbal abuse by some.

“When they come to me and tell me that myself and my employees and all the people that participate in this industry should die and go to hell, I don’t believe that that is very constructive and the proper way to treat anybody.”

Western Hog Exchange’s handling facilities in Red Deer are connected to the Olymel pork processing plant. It receives about 40,000 market animals per week, with these delivered to Olymel. About 500 to 1,000 culled sows and boars also pass through weekly as they’re transloaded to other destinations.

An average of 20 people work there.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Alberta MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

OTTAWA — Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails… Continue reading

A sign marks Stairs Place in the Hydrostone district in the North end of Halifax on Thursday, May 13, 2021. The street was named for William Grant Stairs, a Canadian explorer from Halifax who helped lead some of the most controversial expeditions through the African continent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Where the streets have explorers’ names, some Halifax residents call for change

HALIFAX — When builders created Halifax’s distinctive Hydrostone neighbourhood more than a… Continue reading

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on Thursday May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Braden
People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic: cerebral palsy spokeswoman

YELLOWKNIFE — Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging… Continue reading

Most Read