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38 charges laid against BC companies caught abusing live chickens

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has laid 38 charges against Sofina Foods Inc. and Elite Farm Services Ltd., along with Elite’s president Dwayne Dueck.

Both companies came under fire when videos surfaced of shocking animal cruelty against live chickens at the hands of employees at a Chilliwack farm.

Undercover videos, filmed by the non-profit group Mercy for Animals, show multiple employees abusing and torturing chickens.

Charges were laid under the Health of Animals Regulations, which say no person shall beat an animal being loaded or unloaded in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering.

“The images in this video are absolutely sickening and the individual employees and the companies involved need to be held accountable,” said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA, in June 2017.

“The video includes some of the most brutal and sadistic acts of violence against animals I have ever seen, it’s extremely difficult to watch.”

According to Mercy for Animals, the full compilation of videos show that the workers were doing the following to the live chickens.

  • Workers hitting, kicking, and throwing birds and smashing them into walls and transport crates.
  • Birds crushed by transport machinery and having their legs ripped off by careless workers.
  • Management standing by while workers torment animals with crude sex acts and rough handling.
  • Severely sick and injured birds bred to grow too large to walk without pain left to languish and die.

“It’s high time Elite Farm Services and Sofina Foods were held accountable for their blatant mistreatment of chickens, who feel pain and suffering just like dogs and cats,” said Alanna Devine, managing director of Mercy For Animals Canada.

“We are also anxiously waiting to see whether further charges will be laid after the BC SPCA recommended multiple charges of animal cruelty under both the Criminal Code of Canada and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act over a year ago."

Dueck wasn’t immediately available for comment today, but in June he said the company follows all animal welfare guidelines according to industry standards.

Him and other representatives for the two companies are expected to appear in court on Dec. 18.

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