BC SPCA to investigate 'horrific' footage shot at Abbotsford pig farm (VIDEO)

Apr 24 2019, 11:07 pm

WARNING: This video contains  footage which may be disturbing to some. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

Animal activists are raising concerns following the release of an undercover video that was shot at an Abbotsford pig farm.

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Among the footage are scenes such as pigs crammed together in tight cages, young piglets struggling to survive, and others with large growths and infections. At one point, pigs can be seen around the decomposing corpse of another pig.

According to PETA, the footage was gathered at the Excelsior Hog Farm.

“Mother pigs at Excelsior Hog Farm spend their wretched lives inside cramped metal crates, unable to turn around or attend to their piglets, many of whom are left to die slowly, just out of their reach,” said PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch.

“No meal can be worth the enormous suffering of these intelligent animals who are capable of feeling pain and fear, just as we all are.”

PETA said it has asked the BC SPCA to investigate the farm for suspected violations of the province’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

BC SPCA spokesperson Marcie Moriarty said that viewing the video is “obviously” a challenge.

“I did receive an email from PETA requesting an investigation and we have the name of the farm and we will be opening up our own file to conduct those investigations,” she told Daily Hive.

Pigs in gestation crates (still from PETA video)

At this point, “we have to separate out what is potentially a violation of the legislation and what unfortunately are practices that, as an organization, we want to see phased out.”

This includes things like the current design of the stalls in which the pigs are kept. “It’s something that is still permitted in the industry, but something that the industry, within their own codes of practice, is looking to phase out,” she explained.

That said, Moriarty noted that some of the concerns expressed by PETA and shown in the video “stood out immediately.” This included things like “the fact that there were a number of deceased pigs amongst live pigs, pigs in various states of distress, hernias and untreated sores in other pigs.”

PETA’s Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Payden told Daily Hive this video reveals the “misery of both mother pigs of their offspring which otherwise is hidden from public view.”

And footage like this would “absolutely would suggest violations of the legislation under the code of practice for pigs, which is subscribed to by the industry and that is entrenched in provincial legislation, and includes things like daily monitoring,” said Moriarty.

But because the video showed no time stamps, it’s a difficult piece of the puzzle to determine at this point.

“Unless there is evidence that – for example – all the dead pigs died within a 24-hour period before the next daily health monitor, it would be suggestive that those animals had been left there longer, ” she said. “As per the code – once an animal is identified as being sick or injured – there has to be a plan to deal with it, whether it’s treatment or euthanasia. Those are some of the questions that we would be looking into.”

Based on her past experience in working with video footage investigations, there’s also “significant legal and evidentiary requirements to actually have charges laid based on video evidence.”

And while this has been accomplished in the past, “it’s way too early” at this point in this investigation to predict an outcome.

According to the person who shot the video, the footage was all captured in mid-February and mid-March of this year.

And while the person asked to remain anonymous, they told Daily Hive that they witnessed “all kinds of untreated injuries including hernias, bleeding sores, and crippled pigs unable to stand,” while gathering footage. “In one pen we saw pigs eating the decaying body of another deceased pig left in the pen.”

Asked about the attitudes of frontline workers on the farm in the midst of all this, the person said they imagine the workers are “so desensitized that they no longer register the animal suffering.”

Blaming a “complete lack of transparency” within this industry for these types of situations, situations, the person said that “as horrifying as the video is, the standard industry practises are equally if not more cruel.”

If the industry is “truly proud of what they do, they should install closed circuit cameras in their facilities and stream it online,” they suggested. “Leave nothing out. Let the public see the full unfiltered reality.”

Noting that pigs “have equal capacities for joy and suffering” as cats and dogs, the person noted that “if one were to treat a dog or cat the way pigs are treated, they would be facing jail time.”

As long as the industry “is able to hide behind closed doors, animals will continue to suffer.”

An interview request to Excelsior Hog Farm was not returned by the time of publication.

WARNING: This video contains  footage which may be disturbing to some. Viewer discretion is strongly advised.

Eric ZimmerEric Zimmer

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