Statement on Animal Cruelty Charges Against Ontario Pig Farmer

LONDON, ON—The Ontario SPCA has filed eight provincial animal cruelty charges against a pig farmer after more than 1,265 dead pigs were found in his flooded, manure-filled barn with no access to food. An additional 250 pigs were euthanized on-site.

The investigation followed a complaint of animal cruelty from a member of the public. According to a news release, a representative of Ontario Pork—the industry association that represents the interests of pig farmers—attended with law enforcement to inspect the property and animals.

Lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy with Animal Justice, said: “When animals are used as commodities, they will be treated like commodities. This case demonstrates exactly what happens when we use smart, sentient animals for their instrumental value to us. Today’s farms are warehouses operated by business people producing meat, dairy, and eggs as quickly and as cheaply as possible.”

“The government does not regulate the treatment of animals on farms. This horrific case only came to light because a member of the public managed to see the suffering animals and was willing to come forward as a witness. Who knows how many more animals are suffering near-death in torturous conditions, concealed in windowless warehouses on private property. It’s a no-brainer that all commercial animal enterprises should be regulated by the government and regularly inspected.”

“It’s also concerning that Ontario Pork, which represents the interests of pig farmers, was present with law enforcement as they investigated the animal cruelty complaint. This is a clear conflict of interest. Farms may be tipped off to impending raids and laws may be enforced less stringently when industry interests are involved. Law enforcement bodies must be independent, especially from those who financially benefit when laws are enforced leniently.”

“The farmer should have been charged with criminal animal cruelty rather than the less serious provincial regulatory offences that he is now facing. Neglecting animals by trapping them without food in a flooded, manure-filled barn is unacceptable cruelty that deserves the strongest possible condemnation from our legal system.

“Our animal protection laws operate as a two-tier system: cats and dogs benefit from protection from cruelty while pigs, cows, and chickens are exposed to egregious suffering in the course of business-as-usual. Failing to lay criminal animal cruelty charges in clear cases like this one reinforces this problematic species discrimination.”

 

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For more information, contact:

Anna Pippus
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy
[email protected]

Photo: Mercy For Animals