December 10, 2012

Mercy For Animals Canada Investigates Animal Abuse at Puratone

A groundbreaking Mercy For Animals Canada undercover investigation provides a shocking look into blatant animal abuse at one of the nation's largest pork producers—Puratone—in Arborg, Manitoba.
Major food providers have recognized the inherent cruelty of gestation crates. Costco, Safeway, McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, and over 30 other major retailers in Canada and the United States have started demanding that their suppliers do away with them.
Grocery giants Sobeys, Superstore/Loblaws, Metro, and Walmart condone confining animals in crates barely larger than their bodies by selling pork from producers who use gestation crates—including Puratone. 
These corporations have both the power and ethical responsibility to reject this abusive factory farming practice.
An MFA Canada investigator documented:
  • Thousands of pregnant pigs confined to filthy, metal gestation crates so small they were unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives
  • Pigs suffering from large, open wounds and pressure sores from rubbing against the bars of their tiny cages or lying on the hard concrete flooring
  • Pregnant pigs—physically taxed from constant birthing—suffering from distended, inflamed, and bleeding prolapses
  • Pigs too sick to stand being kicked, slapped, and pulled by their ears to force them to walk
  • Pigs having metal bolts fired into their skulls, leaving many still conscious and blinking
  • Workers slamming piglets into the ground and leaving them to slowly suffer and die
  • Workers cutting out testicles and slicing off the tails of fully conscious piglets without the use of any painkillers.
While many of the standard industry practices uncovered at this pig factory farm are needlessly cruel, subjecting animals to a lifetime of confinement in crates so small they are virtually immobilized is perhaps the worst form of institutionalized animal abuse. 
A growing number of animal welfare experts opposes the use of gestation crates.
Dr. Ian Duncan, holder of the oldest university chair in animal welfare in North America, stated: “It is the worst cruelty inflicted on an animal that I have witnessed in many years.”
Dr. Temple Grandin, the world's leading expert on farmed animal welfare, previously condemned the use of gestation crates, asserting: “Basically, you're asking a sow to live in an airline seat. ... it's something that needs to be phased out.”
Further coverage:
CTV news - W5 - undercover investigation reveals inhumane treatment of factory farm animals

The Winnipeg Humane Society is applauding the efforts of Mercy for Animals Canada for its work in capturing video that shows the horrifying conditions that pigs in Manitoba are raised in by some members of the pork industry.

“This barn is not a one-off situation, this is a level of abuse and neglect that is a standing practice in many other barns,” said Bill McDonald, Winnipeg Humane Society CEO.  “I implore every consumer to use their purchasing power and demand humane treatment for food animals through their grocery chain.”

The gestation crates shown in the video are the focus of The WHS’ Quit Stalling campaign, which urges pork producers to phase out this inhumane practice.

The crates are approximately 2 feet wide by 7 feet long and a sow will live her entire life in it. 

Many of the larger pork producers have pledged to phase out these crates by 2017, including Maple Leaf Foods. Recently the Puratone Corporation farms have been acquired by Maple Leaf Foods.

“Maple Leaf will now be operating over 60 pig barns in Manitoba and stated as recently as March, 2012, in a letter to me, that they would meet their conversion commitment in 2017,” states McDonald. The WHS will be communicating with Maple Leaf about this video to urge the company to adhere to the committed date of 2017 to phase out gestation stalls in Manitoba.

The Winnipeg Humane Society is a registered charity and non-profit organization whose mission is to protect animals from suffering and to promote their welfare and dignity.
Funded primarily by donations, The WHS also offers cat, dog and other critter adoptions. All adoptable pets have been spayed or neutered, had a health check and a behavioural assessment.

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