“What Happens In The Barn, Stays In The Barn”
Abbotsford, BC, August 2, 2019 – An undercover investigator responsible for filming disturbing footage of animal cruelty at a BC pig farm has stepped forward to submit an official complaint to the BCSPCA. The report is in response to the BCSPCA’s decision not to proceed with charges because the person who took the footage did not come forward. The footage, which was originally released by the animal rights group PETA, shows pigs packed together in filthy conditions, with various untreated injuries and growths, at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford, BC. One shot reveals live pigs feeding on the rotting corpse of a deceased pig.
In addition to stepping forward, the investigator has released additional footage from Excelsior, which was obtained using hidden cameras. The additional footage shows workers kicking pigs, using electric prods on the faces of pigs, tail-docking and castrating distressed piglets without anesthetic, and more. Among the workers shown is the farm owner and manager Ray Binnendyk, who had previously defended his work, saying that “it’s a very hard industry and it’s fun,” adding that he and his brothers, who operate the farm, are “very proud of what we do.”
The investigator added that this new footage is not uncommon, stating “there are violations of the industry’s own code of practice in this footage, such as kicking and electric prodding the faces of pigs. However, many of the clips show a standard representation of hog farming in Canada, such as cutting off the tails and ripping out the testicles of piglets. This is industry practice at pig farms here in Canada. It’s legal animal abuse.”
Abbotsford Police had been searching for a suspect after hidden cameras were discovered at Excelsior in late March. Excelsior Farm was also the site of an April 28th “occupation” by animal rights group “Meat The Victims”. Activists entered the facility uninvited, and live-streamed videos showing injured, distressed pigs held in gestation crates and holding pens, along with footage of dumpsters outside the barns full of pig corpses. Despite the content of the live videos, along with the previously released video, industry paid veterinarian Josh Waddington, called Excelsior “industry leaders.” This would likely be true, given that Ray Binnendyk is a board director of the BC Pork Producers Association.
Waddington attended the “Meat The Victims” occupation, after the activists requested immediate medical attention for several very sick and injured pigs. One pregnant sow, in particular, was left lying in a pool of her own blood, with substantial bruising covering her face. The investigator added, “these vets were asked to provide treatment, but instead of providing immediate treatment to the languishing animal, the vet covered for the farm by closing this and other areas off to the media.” The activists see this as a flagrant violation of The Canadian Veterinarian oath which states: “As a member of the veterinary medical profession, I solemnly swear that I will use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society. I will strive to: promote animal health and welfare, and prevent and relieve animal suffering.” The “Meat The Victims” activists, who were inside the barn for nearly 7 hours, did not see any pigs receive medical attention.
A sign posted inside the farm read, “What happens in the barn, stays in the barn,” an explicit reminder of the industry’s aversion to transparency.
When it comes to animal welfare, the Canadian agricultural industry polices itself. The code of practice that lays out acceptable animal treatment is developed by the National Farm Animal Care Council, whose decision makers are mostly industry associations.
After a lengthy legal consultation, the investigator has chosen to remain anonymous in the media for personal safety reasons. The investigator added, “doesn’t it make you wonder why the industry goes to such efforts to ensure the public is left in the dark regarding how animals are raised for food? I believe the public has a right to know the truth. We are all opposed to animal cruelty, and I wonder if Canadians would be comfortable with the routine animal cruelty here at Excelsior, or at any animal farm in Canada, if only they were allowed to see it.”
The Animal Protection Party of Canada is the only political party in Canada which stands opposed to the breeding, production, and killing of animals for food.
Jordan Reichert, Deputy Leader of the APPC, said that he was proud to stand with activists outside of Excelsior farms for the Meat the Victims Canada action this past April.