An undercover investigator with Mercy For Animals documented horrific animal cruelty at Western Hog Exchange in Red Deer, Alberta. The hidden-camera video footage shows:
- "Downed" pigs, unable to walk and suffering with open wounds, painfully shocked by workers in full view of government inspectors
- Pigs who died during transport after suffering long journeys in overcrowded trucks without weather protection
- Sick and injured animals repeatedly kicked, violently beaten, dragged, and left to suffer without proper veterinary care
- Workers using bolt cutters to break the tusks of male pigs, which are filled with sensitive nerves, without any painkillers
After reviewing the undercover footage, Dr. Ian Duncan, professor emeritus of applied ethology at the University of Guelph, and holder of the oldest university chair in animal welfare in North America, stated: "This short video shows some of the worst abuse of animals that I have ever seen. The video shows a huge amount of pain and distress caused by ignorant workers (and an apparently complicit CFIA Inspector) and exacerbated by poorly designed handling facilities."
ABUSE ON BOARD
This case graphically illustrates the cruel and inhumane treatment that farmed animals are all too often subjected to during transport.
Canada’s outdated livestock transport regulations are downright shameful, and lag behind the rest of the Western world. As a result, pigs and other farmed animals are often trucked thousands of kilometres for up to 52 hours at a time without any food, water, or rest, resulting in the deaths of over 8 million animals a year.
Farmed animals in Canada are exposed to all weather extremes. Transport trucks are not adequately enclosed or climate controlled. During the summer, temperatures inside trucks can reach well over 40˚C, particularly when at a standstill. This can lead to heat stress and heart attacks; combined with high ammonia levels, it can cause death by suffocation. During the winter, exposure to snow, frigid winds, freezing temperatures, and extreme wind chill can cause animals to become frozen to the floor or sides of the trailer and possibly freeze to death.
In addition, livestock drivers in Canada are not required to have any animal handling training. Because of this, electric prods are frequently used to force animals who are too sick, diseased, or injured to walk to climb steep ramps onto trailers. As our investigation shows, even when law enforcement officials are present during transport violations, they often fail to act to protect animals.
Although unconscionable cruelty, violence, and neglect are standard in Canada's animal transport industry, caring consumers can help end the needless suffering of pigs and other animals by adopting a compassionate vegan diet.