Turkeys abused at Abbotsford company, animal rights group claims

Mercy for Animals releases video footage accusing Lilydale Food Products and its parent company of extreme animal abuse.

The organization Mercy for Animals released video footage on Monday of turkeys being slaughtered at Lilydale in Abbotsford.

The organization Mercy for Animals released video footage on Monday of turkeys being slaughtered at Lilydale in Abbotsford.

The group that exposed a Chilliwack dairy farm for the alleged abuse of cows in 2014 has now released hidden-camera video footage that it says shows turkeys being “shackled, shocked, cut open and scalded alive” at an Abbotsford poultry company.

The video was released Monday and posted on the website of Mercy for Animals, which recorded the footage at Lilydale Food Products on Marshall Road.

The organization says it is now demanding that Lilydale’s parent company, Sofina Foods, take immediate action “by adopting meaningful animal welfare policies to address the extreme animal abuse documented.”

Mercy for Animals states that the footage shows turkeys being scalded alive in hot water tanks, birds having their throats cut open and heads ripped off, and workers yanking turkeys out of crates and shackling them upside down on the slaughter line.

The organization also says that severely sick and injured birds are sent through the slaughter line for human consumption and that birds are shocked in an electrified vat of water but are still conscious and able to feel pain.

Matt Rice, executive vice-president of Mercy for Animals, told the Abbotsford News that these practices are standard in the poultry industry and that most consumers are unaware of the treatment that farm animals undergo when they are prepared for the food market.

“These are some of the most abused animals on the planet,” he said.

Rice said Mercy for Animals believes that Canadians deserve to know where their food is coming from, and he hopes the recent video results in change for the entire turkey industry.

The organization captures its video footage by having people apply for jobs and then secretly filming what goes on.

Rice said the footage in Abbotsford was shot over a three-week period.

Sofina Foods has not yet responded to  News’ request for comment, but a statement was posted on its website on Saturday in response to a CTV W5 report on the practices in Abbotsford.

“… the practices at our Abbotsford plant comply with current industry practices and government regulations,” the statement reads.

“We collaborate with industry, regulatory, and other experts continuously to enhance our practices. Additionally, Sofina’s first controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) system is due for delivery in the new year.”

Rice said Mercy for Animals is urging the organization to proceed company-wide with the CAS system, which removes oxygen from the birds’ atmosphere while they are still in their transport crates.

The oxygen is then slowly replaced with a non-poisonous gas, resulting in the birds’ deaths before they are removed from their crates.

Mercy for Animals said it wants to urge Sofina to follow the lead of Maple Leaf Foods – the largest meat producer in Canada – in pledging to implement a series of less-cruel animal welfare policies.

The handling and slaughter of food animals in Canada is regulated by the Canada Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and slaughter houses must comply with provisions of the Meat Inspection Regulations.

A CFIA spokesperson said the Lilydale site has had “31 documented incidents” of concern over the last five years, but all were immediately corrected.

“None of the incidents were related to the scalding of birds without properly completing slaughter,” he said.

The spokesman said the CFIA has issued one “corrective action request” against Lilydale in the last five years related to the “transport and handling of poultry at arrival.” Corrective action was taken, he added.

The spokesman said that whenever the regulations are not followed, the CFIA takes action, and repercussions can include fines, the suspension of operations, or prosecution.

Earlier this year, Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd., was charged with 20 animal cruelty charges after Mercy for Animals released undercover video in 2014 showing dairy cows being beaten.

Eight employees were fired following the release of the video, and the BC SPCA launched the investigation which led to the charges.

That matter is still making its way through the courts.

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Black Press file photo.
COVID exposure recorded at Kent Elementary

Students, families encouraged to keep monitoring for symptoms

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read