CCFA press release

Economics over animal welfare:
Maple Lodge Farms sentenced for animal transport violations

TORONTO, March 28, 2014:
Yesterday, at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Brampton, ON, Maple Lodge Farms (MLF) – Canada’s largest chicken slaughter plant – was sentenced in a case involving 60 charges laid by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for violations under the Health of Animals Regulations, for causing “undue suffering” to thousands of chickens during transport to slaughter.

The company has a long history of transport violations and is described by CFIA on its website as an “animal transport repeat violator.”

In September 2013 the company was found guilty of two charges following a two-year court trial. Yesterday, the company pleaded guilty to 18 of the remaining 58 charges. However, the court ordered sentencing for the 18 charges be suspended for three years during which MLF will be subject to a Probation Order which requires the company to spend “no less than one million dollars” during the three-year period to modify transport trailers, change company facilities, transport methods, policies and procedures. The Probation Order is intended to ensure compliance with the Health of Animals Regulations.

The company was also fined $80,000 plus a14% victims’ surcharge for the two court convictions. The remaining charges were suspended.

The Probation Order requires the company to appoint a senior animal welfare officer responsible for corporate compliance. The court ordered MLF to make public, information on the offences of which they were convicted, the sentence imposed by the court and any measures the organization is making to reduce the likelihood of it committing a subsequent offence. Proof of implementation is required on a quarterly basis, and the company website must provide a summary of DOAs on a quarterly basis, to indicate numbers of loads that exceed the 1% and 4% DOA thresholds for broiler birds and spent hens. An independent expert will ensure compliance procedures during the probation, expenditures to improve facilities, and an annual compliance audit report to the Court.

As Canada’s largest chicken slaughter plant, Maple Lodge Farms kills upwards to 500,000 birds per day, including meat chickens and nearly featherless “spent” laying hens.

To read the court sentencing document, see Maple Lodge Farms court sentence

To read a comprehensive report about the MLF court case, see CCFA-AAC report about Maple Lodge Farms court trial

Contacts:

Stephanie Brown
Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals
info@humanefood.ca
ph 416.920.4984 or cell 647.889.4984

Liz White
Animal Alliance of Canada
Liz@animalalliance.ca
ph 416.462.9541 or 416.809.4371