ARCHIVED - CFIA Statement on Allegations of Inhumane Treatment of Animals at Alberta Facility

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2014-10-10 - On October 11, 2014, the television program W5 is expected to air footage of alleged animal abuse at an Alberta establishment. Verifying that industry treats animals humanely during transport and slaughter is a responsibility the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) takes very seriously. Animal abuse is unacceptable, and we do not tolerate it under any circumstances.

When the Agency first learned of this issue, we requested the video footage so it could be carefully reviewed by our animal welfare experts. Unfortunately, the owners of this footage refused to send it to us, preventing us from carrying out a proper and detailed investigation.

Regardless, we promptly launched an internal review by a team of experts to determine if federal rules were broken and if suitable inspection actions were taken. The review team will provide its findings to senior officials and appropriate actions will be taken.

CFIA management has met with all inspection staff in the area to reinforce our values of courage, rigour and respect. We have also taken this opportunity to discuss with staff our ongoing expectation that animal welfare responsibilities be carried out in a compassionate and respectful manner.

Earlier this year, the Government of Canada announced the creation of Inspection Verification Teams (IVTs) to oversee the performance of Canada's entire food inspection system. These teams verify that a consistent level of rigour and thoroughness is applied by conducting unannounced inspections of federally registered facilities.

Animal welfare and humane slaughter is a shared responsibility. We are pleased to see the Western Hog Exchange has taken steps on their own to address animal welfare concerns within their facility. We will continue to work with them and all of our stakeholders to ensure that animals are treated humanely during transportation and slaughter.

Anyone witnessing animal abuse or possessing evidence of alleged abuse should notify the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and provincial or federal authorities immediately.

Findings Summary

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