Hidden-camera footage is one of the only ways to uncover hidden animal abuse on farms. Before the Ontario ag gag law came into effect, which makes on-farm exposés illegal, Animal Justice went undercover at a factory pig farm in Putnam, Ontario. This hidden-camera investigation from Paragon Farms is the last legally-obtained undercover footage from an animal farm in the province.
Undercover investigations have proven that shocking abuse and neglect is commonplace on Canadian farms. Factory farms are desperate to hide their cruel practices from the public, and don’t like being exposed through hidden-camera footage. That’s why the meat industry is lobbying for “ag gag” laws—to punish undercover whistleblowers, and prevent people from learning the truth about the millions of animals suffering behind closed doors on farms.
Our shocking exposé at Paragon Farms shows:
- Mother pigs beaten, kicked, and slapped by workers
- Piglet tails and testes sliced off without pain relief
- Pigs suffering from painful injuries without veterinary care
- Filthy conditions, including maggots and mold
- Mother pigs caged constantly in barren crates so small they can’t even turn around
Life is Hell for Mother Pigs & Piglets
At Paragon, pigs endure unbearable pain and horrific abuse. Mother pigs were trapped in cruel gestation crates nearly their entire lives, kicked and beaten by workers, and kept in filthy, unsanitary conditions. Baby piglets were castrated and had their tails sliced off without any pain relief, and roughly thrown around.
While Animal Justice filed an animal cruelty complaint, and provincial inspectors investigated the serious abuse and neglect that we uncovered, the farm was never charged. Instead of prosecuting Paragon, the Ontario government brought its dangerous ag gag law into effect.
What the Experts Say
“These pigs with docked tails stand endlessly in crates too small to allow them to even turn around—even though science shows these crates are detrimental to their physical and psychological health. At this farm, pigs are treated like objects instead of the highly intelligent, situationally aware, and emotionally complex mammals that they are.
Just as with all highly intelligent mammals under similar circumstances, pigs in this and similar facilities are enduring circumstances that go well beyond their coping abilities—even as domesticated animals—and that lead to chronic distress and debility.”— Dr. Lori Marino, PHD
Neuroscientist and expert in animal behaviour and intelligence
“Pigs are curious and social animals and confining them to crates (gestational and farrowing) causes significant psychological distress. Performing surgical procedures (such as castrations and tail dockings) without the use of pain medications is completely inappropriate. The footage shows a number of pigs with untreated and painful medical conditions. From a veterinary and moral standpoint, this certainly causes undue suffering on the part of these animals.”— Dr. Malgosia Mosielski, DVM
Animal welfare expert and former Canadian Food Inspection Agency veterinarian
Fighting Ag Gag Laws in Court
Animal Justice believes Canadian ag gag laws are unconstitutional, and we’re committed to challenging these terrifying laws in court. We believe the ability to document and expose suffering on factory farms is a constitutional right, and we’ll fight to strike down ag gag laws. The farming industry urgently needs more transparency—not less.
Animal Justice lawyers filed a lawsuit against the Ontario government to overturn its dangerous ag gag law that makes it illegal to go undercover to expose animal cruelty at farms, slaughterhouses, and transport. We believe ag gag laws violate the Charter-protected right to free expression, and defeating the ag gag law is essential to protecting farmed animals and the whistleblowers that expose their suffering.