Undercover video shows pigs kicked, shocked and slammed
Video shot on an Arthur-area farm by an animal rights group shows dozens of incidents involving alleged mistreatment of pigs.
The video shows multiple cases of piglets put to their death by being slammed to the ground. When the first attempt fails, the piglet is thrown again and again until it dies. industry standards dictate small piglets may be euthanized by this practice, known as “thumping,” but multiple thumps are not allowed.
In another piece of footage, workers are seen kicking adult pigs multiple times as well as using electric prods to shock the pigs into moving. By the same industry standards, kicking is forbidden and prods are only to be used as a last resort.
The video was shot between December 2015 and February 2016 by a farm employee who had been placed there undercover by the group Last Chance for Animals.
The employee spoke to CTV News on the condition of anonymity, because they still work undercover on other farms.
“It was a daily occurrence,” the employee said of the alleged abuse.
As a result of information gathered by the undercover worker, Last Chance for Animals submitted complaints to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as the Ontario SPCA and police.
Seeking an impartial opinion, CTV News showed the video to Ian Duncan, the University of Guelph’s emeritus chair in animal welfare.
After viewing the footage, Duncan said that it showed “a great deal of suffering” – avoidable suffering, in his view.
“Some of the things that we saw in that video were amongst the worst that I’ve seen,” he said.
Last Chance for Animals says it wanted to make the footage public to educate people about what happens on farms.
Ed Bosman, who owns Crimson Lane Farms, agrees that farm education is important – and allowed CTV News to tour his operation to get a sense of what it entails.
Over the course of our visit to the farm, no animals were seen to be in distress – a significant difference from what the video showed.
Asked about that footage, Bosman agreed that some of it was “very disturbing.”
“As a farm owner, I take full responsibility,” he said. “We are all about animal welfare. We care for our animals. We always have and always will.”
Nobody was fired as a result of anything captured in the video, although some employees have quit their jobs since it was shot.
Over the past year, Bosman has been in the process of a major transformation of his facility. The hidden camera investigation was undertaken during the switch.
Once complete, individual stalls will be replaced by loose or group housing, which is expected to become the industry standard by 2024.
Since the video’s release, Bosman has also decided to make other changes.
“(Now) things are dealt with immediately, and not tomorrow and not the day after,” he said.
He says there has been a lot of staff retraining on his farm. As one example, while industry standards dictate electric prods may be used a last resort, he says staff know they’re never allowed to be used on pregnant sows on his farm.