WINNIPEG—National animal law organization Animal Justice is calling for animal cruelty charges against a Manitoba egg farm after six live chickens were found among the dead bodies of thousands of hens dumped in a Winnipeg landfill.
On April 1, workers at the Brady landfill discovered the live hens before bulldozing the bodies of their flock mates along with garbage dumped at the site.
Workers alerted the operators of The Good Place: Farm Rescue & Sanctuary, who quickly rescued the animals and brought them to a Winnipeg veterinary clinic for urgent medical treatment. Sadly, one of the animals died shortly after being discovered at the landfill.
This is not the first time the egg industry has been caught treating live hens like garbage. Just last year, two chickens were found at the same landfill, having been dumped after another botched cull at a Manitoba egg farm.
“When they buy eggs at the store, most Canadians like to believe that the chickens who laid those eggs were treated well,” said Kaitlyn Mitchell, a Winnipeg-based staff lawyer with Animal Justice. “Yet the vast majority of eggs sold in Canada come from large industrialized facilities, where hens spend their lives indoors in crowded and unnatural conditions. The average Manitoba egg farm has approximately 15,000 hens, who are generally killed at a young age when their egg production starts to decline and they are no longer profitable. While some are slaughtered for food, many are culled on farms by gassing and other methods, with their bodies carelessly dumped in landfills like this one.”
Manitoba Egg Farmers—an egg industry marketing organization—put out a statement indicating that it is aware of the situation and that it has followed up with the farm involved to “enforce animal welfare protocols”. That an industry group is policing its own members should be concerning to anyone concerned about the protection of farmed animals.
“Letting an industry group follow up with this egg farm is not enough,” said Ms. Mitchell. “Vulnerable hens deserve more. We’re asking the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and provincial law enforcement officials to investigate and lay charges. It’s illegal to cause an animal to experience needless suffering during euthanasia, which includes burying live animals under the bodies of their dead flock mates and leaving them to die.”
Pearl, Piper, and the other chickens rescued last week have defied the odds and will spend the remainder of their days in caring homes. Sadly, this is not the first time that chickens have been buried alive at Canadian landfills after surviving a mass cull, and it almost certainly will not be the last so long as farming is not effectively monitored by federal and provincial authorities. To protect the welfare of farmed animals, Animal Justice is calling on the Manitoba government to enact legally binding standards of care for farmed animals and ensure those standards are enforced in a proactive and transparent manner.
Animal Justice’s complaint can be read here.
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