Federal Authorities Take No Action Following Cruelty Complaint at Saskatchewan Slaughterhouse

Animal Justice submitted an animal cruelty complaint to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (“CFIA”) and Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan based on shocking footage taken by local animal protection advocates with Regina Animal Save on October 24, 2021. The footage was taken outside of the Thunder Creek Pork slaughterhouse in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. In our complaint, Animal Justice requested that the CFIA and provincial enforcement officials investigate the incident and take action to prevent cruel and aggressive handling of pigs at this facility in the future.

Despite the footage clearly showing a worker violently striking pigs in a transport vehicle with a paddle, striking at least one animal directly on their face, the CFIA has refused to take any enforcement action and has refused to confirm whether the Thunder Creek slaughterhouse was required to implement any corrective measures. This disappointing response highlights the flaws in Canada’s animal transport laws, which are some of the worst in the industrialized world.

In its November 4, 2021 response to the complaint, the CFIA stated that because pigs in the vehicle would have had “a path for exiting” when they were being “prodded”, and no one at the slaughterhouse noticed any injuries before the pigs were killed, it would not take enforcement action. The CFIA also noted that the “blow to the snout” of the pig shown in the video was not intentional and was unlikely to cause injury, though it is unclear how the Agency reached this conclusion in light of the video evidence.

For its part, shortly after the footage was released and began circulating on social media, the Thunder Creek slaughterhouse put up a new tarp on the fences surrounding its unloading area in an apparent effort to prevent members of the public from witnessing or documenting the treatment of pigs. This response speaks volumes about the industry’s desire to hide animal abuse rather than address it. 

Even Canada’s meagre animal transport laws are clear that workers should not beat or strike animals when unloading them from trucks, and that animals should not be handled in a way that is likely to cause suffering or injury. Transport is an incredibly stressful process for animals, leaving them at risk of injury and even death, making consistent enforcement of transport laws and standards particularly important. Animal Justice will continue to push for the CFIA to take enforcement action to address this incident and prevent similar treatment of pigs at the Thunder Creek slaughterhouse in the future.

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