Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Workers Fired over Alleged Abuse Caught on Video at Chicken Farms in B.C

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Workers Fired over Alleged Abuse Caught on Video at Chicken Farms in B.C

Article excerpt

Workers fired over alleged abuse at chicken farms

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VANCOUVER - A company responsible for catching chickens at farms in British Columbia's Fraser Valley says it has fired five employees after an animal rights group released video of alleged abuse.

Dwayne Dueck, president of Elite Services based in Chilliwack, says in a statement the company is taking "immediate corrective action" and one of the fired employees was a supervisor.

"Elite Services understands the importance of ensuring the proper care and handling of animals. Proper handling techniques help maintain production quality and effectively reduce stress on the animals," he said in a statement issued Tuesday.

"We are sickened with the footage and want to ensure all our suppliers and producers that this is not reflective of who we are, our fundamental beliefs or behaviour we accept from our employees."

The SPCA in British Columbia has launched a formal investigation.

Lindsay Wolf, vice-president of investigations with the group Mercy For Animals, says the abuses were captured by a whistleblower working for the company that supplies services at more than a dozen factory farms in the Fraser Valley.

Wolf said the birds were slaughtered at a plant in the Vancouver suburb of Port Coquitlam before they were shipped to Loblaws and Loblaws-owned stores.

"The shocking video footage we obtained showed workers hitting, kicking and throwing birds, and smashing them into walls and transport crates," Wolf said in a conference call from Toronto.

"Birds are run over by forklifts and crushed by transport machinery."

It wants grocery giant Loblaws to ensure the welfare of animals in its supply chain.

Loblaws said it is investigating.

"We stand firmly behind the standards set by the National Farm Animal Care Council, the policies outlined by the Chicken Farmers of Canada, and our own commitment to animal welfare which is clearly articulated in our supplier code of conduct, and in our animal welfare principles," it said in a statement. …

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