Chicken processor, Maple Lodge Farms, is now facing sixty criminal charges

From The Toronto Star:

“The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has laid 60 criminal charges against Brampton-based Maple Lodge Farms, Canada’s largest independent chicken processor, alleging violations of federal animal health regulations.

The CFIA alleges that between December 2008 and February 2009, and then December 2009 and April 2010, thousands of chickens died from exposure to cold conditions during transportation from farm to slaughterhouse, often because of proximity to a truck trailer’s floor or walls.

Two of the counts have been heard in a series of six hearings at the Ontario Court of Justice, in Brampton, which began in September. The hearings continue on Monday.

In one count, dated “on or about” Dec. 30 and Dec.31, 2008, the Crown alleges that 711 chickens, of nearly 10,000 in shipment, were “found dead on arrival” at Maple Lodge’s slaughterhouse. In the other, “on or about” Feb. 23, 2009, 1,181 chickens, of nearly 11,000, were discovered dead upon unloading at the slaughterhouse.

The first count concerns a haul of broiler chickens, which are raised solely for meat production; their breasts and thighs appear on grocery store shelves. The second refers to a load of spent hens, a term for poultry no longer capable of laying eggs, whose meat is often used in ground chicken products.

Maple Lodge, which also has a processing plant in New Brunswick, sells frozen chicken, sliced meats, chicken wieners and chicken bacon, as well as a line of halal products.

Frail and fragile after de-feathering and a lifetime laying eggs, spent hens are especially susceptible to cold exposure.

“We have very stringent protocols in place regarding the transportation of animals,” Maple Lodge spokesperson Carol Gardin said. “At the end of the day, it’s not only moral and ethical considerations regarding the humane handling of the birds, there’s a financial incentive to keep the birds in the best health.”…”

7 Comments

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7 responses to “Chicken processor, Maple Lodge Farms, is now facing sixty criminal charges

  1. If corporations were truly “people,” someone would go to jail over this.

    But I suspect it simply result in yet another fine, that Maple Leaf will merely pass on to its consumers.

  2. alim

    Take away their incorporation.

  3. Sib

    This is Maple Lodge Farms, not to be confused with Maple Leaf. Maple Leaf’s listeria-contaminated processed meats killed 23 people in 2008. They’re still operating. So you have a good point. To many of us, this would be considered a case of animal cruelty but it will likely turn out to be business as usual for the company. This is why I buy my meat and eggs from trusted sources who, as far as I know, treat their animals and birds humanely, not from faceless mass producers that distribute through major grocery store chains. I avoid forking out my money to these companies.

  4. Peter

    I get that there is disdain for these large corporations, and I am not here to endorse their conduct. However, if we are to apply the principles of fairness, I hope these charge won’t stick, because I can’t see who’s rights were violated. My reasoning is: if animals have rights, then are we to concede that they have the right to life or liberty? If they have the right to be treated humanely, what do we make of our treatment of lab rats, or even work horses… slaves, I tell you🙂 We kill house flies without any consideration towards humane treatment. Heck, we employ pesticide, Round-Up, and all manner of poison to kill whatever critters we like, and make nothing of their slow death. Or… are animal rights dependent on whether they have fur, look cute, or are of a certain size?
    It sounds to me as though “they” are trying to pull the wool over our eyes by suggesting rights are a product of social policy making (emotional whim), rather than by law itself. I can just see it now: Plants have rights too! Harvesting your own veggies is now a criminal activity.
    Maybe I’m missing an underlying principle at play here, but on the face of it, I see problems to no end with the assignment of rights to animals.

    • rainhard pitschke

      Does no one see the humour here? These chickens were being transported for slaughter after being abused all their short miserable lives. How dare the owners allow them to die of anything on their own! This government has failed the chickens by leaving a ‘window of opportunity’ for nature to take it’s course through unlegislated ‘misadventure’. It’s deprived the workers at the slaughter house of untold hours of work and they have been damaged emotionally by seeing how unecessary their jobs are. More sinister…perhaps this was a plot by the chickens themselves to escape by playing dead and frozen. Peter…I hope we end up on a liferaft together. I have less morality than you…and much less respect for any ‘laws’.

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