VANCOUVER—Animal Justice is releasing secretly-recorded video of suffering pigs taken inside Excelsior Hog Farm—a factory farm in Abbotsford, BC that has been repeatedly outed for animal suffering. The new footage is among the most gruesome ever recorded at a farm in Canada, and shows:
- Dead and rotting pigs throughout the farm, including piglets whose carcasses were partially eaten
- Crushed and stillborn piglets inside crates
- Pigs kicked in the stomach and face
- Pigs jabbed with a metal rod and hit with plastic boards
- Pigs with hernias, prolapses, bloody lacerations, and open wounds
- An accumulation of feces, and walls smeared with blood
- Water troughs that appear to be filled with feces and blood
The footage was shot between April and June, 2023, and was provided confidentially to Animal Justice. It has been turned over to the BC SPCA along with a detailed legal complaint pointing out violations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code.
Excelsior is no stranger to allegations of animal abuse. In 2019, similar secretly-recorded video at Excelsior showed mother pigs trapped in tiny crates with dead and dying piglets; pigs prodded in the face with electric current; pigs with untreated injuries; and workers castrating piglets without apparent pain relief. Members of the public later participated in a peaceful sit-in protest at the farm, entering to live-stream the conditions inside the barn.
Shockingly, Excelsior and its owners have never faced legal accountability for the troubling conditions shown on camera. Instead of addressing the illegal animal abuse, authorities have vigorously prosecuted the whistleblowers who exposed it.
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 is the only known 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 sentence for a farm convicted of animal cruelty. Their appeal will be heard starting November 23, 2023 in the BC Court of Appeal.
“The ongoing suffering of sensitive pigs and piglets at Excelsior Hog Farm represents a shocking failure of our legal system to protect animals on farms,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “Instead of prosecuting whistleblowers, authorities should act immediately to end the gut-wrenching abuse that Excelsior has been allowed to get away with. It’s time for BC to introduce legal standards for animal welfare on farms, and proactive inspections so that animal suffering no longer remains hidden.”
There are no legal standards for animal welfare on farms, nor are there proactive government inspections of conditions—industries are left to make up their own rules. Animal Justice is also calling for laws requiring cameras inside farms and slaughterhouses that livestream directly to the internet.