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An animal rights group, Animal Justice, has recently released a video documenting what it claims to be instances of severe animal abuse at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford, B.C. The footage, reportedly taken between April and June of this year, depicts disturbing scenes of dead and rotting pigs, crushed piglets in crates, and farm staff engaging in what appears to be cruel treatment of the animals. The allegations have prompted the British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) to launch an investigation.
According to Animal Justice, the leaked video showcases a range of distressing scenes, including dead and rotting pigs scattered throughout the farm, staff using metal rods and plastic boards to mistreat pigs, and animals suffering from hernias, prolapses, bloody lacerations, and open wounds. Marcie Moriarty, chief of protection and outreach services for the BC SPCA, has expressed concern over the footage, stating that it potentially depicts violations of both the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code.
Despite the serious nature of the allegations, calls to Ray and Calvin Binnendyk, the owners of Excelsior Hog Farm, went unanswered. In the past, the Binnendyk family has defended their farm against similar accusations. Ray Binnendyk testified before the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, claiming that false accusations had a significant emotional impact on their family and that the negative perception was fueled by misinformation.
Previous attempts by Animal Justice to bring attention to alleged animal cruelty at the hog farm in 2019 did not result in charges, as the BC SPCA investigation found no violations. Crown counsel also deemed the video evidence obtained illegally, rendering it inadmissible in court. The current investigation will determine whether the new video can be used as evidence in court.
The latest allegations have reignited calls for enhanced oversight and transparency in the agricultural industry. Activists, including the ‘Excelsior 4,’ who faced legal consequences for protesting against animal cruelty, have called for a more transparent and accountable enforcement agency to replace the BC SPCA. Critics argue that the current legal framework does not adequately address instances of abuse on farms and lacks a robust reporting mechanism.
The broader debate surrounding farm oversight has raised questions about the adequacy of current laws. Animal advocates argue that there is no effective mechanism in place to report abuse on farms, with employees and farmers not required to report all forms of abuse. Additionally, the lack of a government-funded third-party auditing system in B.C. raises concerns about the enforcement of animal welfare standards on farms.
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