Animal Justice is releasing disturbing new footage from Excelsior Hog Farm—a factory pig farm in Abbotsford, BC that has been outed repeatedly on hidden-camera for unlawful cruelty to pigs. Instead of holding the farm accountable for illegal animal abuse, authorities have instead prosecuted animal advocates involved in bringing the abuse to light.
Watch the Video
The footage was obtained earlier in 2023 and provided anonymously to Animal Justice. It shows:
- Dead and rotting pigs throughout the farm, including piglets whose carcasses have been partially eaten
- Crushed and stillborn piglets inside farrowing crates
- Pigs kicked in the stomach and face
- Pigs jabbed with a metal rod and hit with plastic boards
- Pigs with hernias, bloody scratches, open wounds, and leg injuries
- An accumulation of feces, and walls smeared with blood
- Water troughs that appear to be filled with feces and blood
Concerns about the suffering of pigs at Excelsior first came to light in 2019, when secretly-recorded footage at the farm showed mother pigs trapped in gestation crates with dead and dying piglets; pigs prodded in the face with electric current; untreated injuries; and workers castrating piglets without painkillers. Although the footage was provided to law enforcement officials, no charges were laid against the farm. Instead, one whistleblower was turned over to the police after coming forward to speak with animal welfare authorities.
Members of the public later participated in a peaceful “Meat the Victims” sit-in at the farm, entering Excelsior to live-stream the conditions inside the barn, which showed severely neglected pigs, seen frothing at the mouth, crippled, and suffering from serious injuries.
As a result of the sit-in, advocates Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer were each convicted of criminal break and enter and mischief, and sentenced to 30 days in jail. This appears to be the only jail sentence in Canadian history for a non-violent act of civil disobedience. Their sentence for exposing animal cruelty was more severe than almost any recent animal cruelty sentence in Canada. Pointing a camera at a suffering animal resulted in a more serious charge than what has been given for ripping the wings off of live birds, sexually abusing animals, or beating animals to death with shovels.
Their appeal will be heard starting on November 23, 2023 in the BC Court of Appeal. The appeal argues that the trial judge made legal errors, and blocked Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer from presenting a full defence. During the trial, the judge refused to let the jury see footage of suffering pigs, and prevented them from arguing that the farm had engaged in unlawful animal abuse.
Excelsior isn’t just a case of one bad apple. Although Canadians are increasingly concerned about the treatment of animals raised and slaughtered for food, factory farms keep consumers in the dark when it comes to how animals raised for meat, eggs, and dairy are treated. With no national regulations governing animal welfare on farms and virtually no government oversight on farms, one of the only ways abuse and mistreatment of farmed animals comes to light is through whistleblower and hidden camera exposés.
Join us in calling for strong new farmed animal protection laws and regular public inspections, and mandatory cameras in farms and slaughterhouses in British Columbia that are live-streamed to the internet, so the public can see the unfiltered reality of how animals are treated behind the closed doors of farms.