Video of alleged pig farm abuse reviewed

The office of Manitoba’s chief veterinarian said Sunday it has received and will review footage of the treatment of pigs at a hog farm that has sparked accusations of animal abuse.

The office of Manitoba’s chief veterinarian said Sunday it has received and will review footage of the treatment of pigs at a hog farm that has sparked accusations of animal abuse.

Animal Health and Welfare Manager Terry Whiting said video footage taken at a Puratone Corp. farm in Arborg, Man., by animal rights group Mercy For Animals Canada was received Friday, but couldn’t comment on whether an investigation has been launched.

The footage, released online and to CTV’s “W5,” shows pigs bleeding from open wounds in tight metal cages, pregnant pigs with distended, inflamed bellies and piglets being slammed down on the floor by staff.

Mercy For Animals Canada says it was shot between August and September by an undercover investigator at the Puratone facility.

Investigations director Twyla Francois said the footage was recorded with a pinhole camera worn by an activist who was hired as an animal care technician by Puratone after applying to several Manitoba pig farms selected at random.

“Our investigator purely went in as the eyes and ears. He just recorded what he saw each day, and footage doesn’t lie,” she said.

Puratone CEO Ray Hildebrand said in a statement that the company is “disturbed” by the images which he said do not reflect its animal care rules.

He said an investigation is underway and that there will be “corrective actions” taken as a result of the video.

“The vast majority of our people respect the animals under their care and follow good stewardship practices. We require all staff to adhere to animal welfare policies and nothing else will be tolerated,” he said.

The advocacy group said meat from the plant is purchased by major grocery chains Sobeys, Loblaws, Metro, and Walmart Canada. It’s calling for the stores to ban the purchase of meat from farms that use the metal “gestation” crates.

Twyla said the group has sent a legal petition to Manitoba’s top veterinarian alleging the footage shows the farm violates the province’s animal welfare law.

“Although these are standard practices (in the industry), they do cause unnecessary suffering… We believe that we have grounds for the Office of the Chief Veterinarian to act,” she said.

“I think we’re at an interesting turning point where the public is now seeing into the hidden world of factory farming and the public is outraged, and rightly so.”

Francois said the group’s investigator recorded auditors from Maple Leaf Foods Inc. — which is in the process of buying Puratone — touring the facility as the alleged mistreatment was occurring.

“They saw all this so they clearly did tolerate it and they were aware of it,” she alleged.

Maple Leaf was not immediately available for comment Sunday but said in a statement on its website that it will conduct a “thorough audit” of Puratone’s animal care policies after the purchase is finalized.

The company said the treatment shown in the video does not reflect industry practices and is “not tolerated at Maple Leaf.”

Industry group the Canadian Pork Council said in a release Saturday that it has asked an independent panel of animal welfare experts to review the footage.

“As soon as we have their input, we will determine what steps are necessary to ensure humane treatment of animals on Canadian hog farms remains the norm,” it stated.

Mercy For Animals Canada has scheduled news conferences Monday in Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal to release more details on the videos and call for grocery store chains to be more stringent about how they source their meat products.

The group was formed earlier this year as a sister organization to the U.S.-based Mercy For Animals, which aims to prevent cruelty to farm animals.

Just Posted

Small aircraft short on fuel touches down on Calgary street

CALGARY — A small aircraft carrying six people has made an emergency… Continue reading

How hospitals prepare for mass-casualty incidents like Toronto van attack

TORONTO — Mass-casualty disasters like Monday’s deadly van attack that sent 10… Continue reading

Chinese automaker plans electric car production in SAfrica

BEIJING — A state-owned Chinese automaker announced plans Wednesday to produce electric… Continue reading

International probe shuts down cyberattack provider

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — In a major hit against cybercriminals, an international… Continue reading

Rental agencies struggle with screenings as security concerns rise

Monday’s deadly rental van rampage in Toronto shows how quickly a vehicle… Continue reading

WATCH: Alberta’s revenue shortage concerns Central Albertans

Public Interest Alberta hosted the discussion at Red Deer College on Tuesday

WORLD CUP: Last stand for stars of Spain’s golden generation

MADRID — After recent struggles at major tournaments, the remaining stars of… Continue reading

Maple Leafs, Raptors, TFC create perfect storm of sports buzz in Toronto

TORONTO — The Raptors are hosting, but supporters of the Maple Leafs… Continue reading

Jury to deliberate after Cosby painted as predator, victim

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial are poised… Continue reading

B.C. researchers get patent to develop potential vaccine for syphilis

VANCOUVER — Researchers at the University of Victoria have been granted a… Continue reading

Mane Event rides into Red Deer

A weekend for the horses comes to Red Deer, as the Westerner… Continue reading

Edmonton retiree robbed of $210K in silver bars police investigating

EDMONTON — Police are hoping that they can provide a silver lining… Continue reading

Cause of plane crash that killed former Alberta premier Jim Prentice to be released

The findings of investigation into the plane crash that killed four set to be released.

MPAA head says theatres will survive rise of streaming sites

LAS VEGAS — Two film industry leaders told theatre owners Tuesday that… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month