Video allegedly shot at an Abbotsford pig farm that shows the corpses of dead piglets among live animals “raises alarm bells” and will trigger an investigation, according to the SPCA.
And while a director for the BC Pork Producers Association said in a press release the footage shows some “areas of concerns” and will prompt a veterinarian to visit the farm, he also says it was obtained illegally and lacks important context.
PETA says the footage, which it released Wednesday morning, comes from inside Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford. A PETA official told CTV the footage was provided to the organization by an anonymous person.
The video released by PETA shows piglets nursing and feeding alongside the bodies of other piglets that are dying or in medical distress. The video shows multiple animals with visual injuries or medical ailments and adult pigs living in tight conditions.
Marcie Moriarty, the SPCA’s chief prevention and enforcement officer, said the video was “unpleasant to watch,” and raises serious questions about the activities at the farm in question.
Moriarty said the SPCA will be investigating to determine if any laws have been broken. The footage of the co-mingling of dead and live pigs, along with video showing pigs in distress with apparently untreated medical ailments, “raise alarm bells,” she said.
The News has attempted to contact the farm about the video. In a press release, a director of the BC Pork Producers Association, Chad Goertzen said: “the video was taken by a trespasser at night, it has been edited and lacks context and understanding, but some of the scenes are of concern.”
Goertzen spoke to The News Thursday and confirmed that the farm in question is owned by another BC Pork director. He said a veterinarian will be attending the farm to determine what, if anything, needs to change and that the farmer is co-operating.
Goertzen said he didn’t want to comment on specifics in the video without knowing more about why the animals were in such conditions.
The president of BC Pork, Jack Dewit, said in the release that those people who have concerns about animal welfare should raise concerns with producers “rather than putting our farms and pig health at risk by entering our facilities directly and without our knowledge or permission.”
Dan Paden, PETA’s vice-president of evidence analysis, said the video was submitted anonymously to the organization, but that he knows the person who sent it.
Paden said the footage would appear to show contraventions of laws that prohibit individuals from leaving animals in distress. He said other parts of the video showing pigs confined in tight spaces are more common, and said people upset by the footage should stop eating pork.
The video, which appears to have been shot by hand, was allegedly taken at the same Harris Road farm where hidden cameras had been discovered last month. Police at the time said there were no suspects.
“You’re not allowed to go on people’s property without permission, and this is a violation of their privacy,” Sgt. Judy Bird said at the time.
Paden said PETA did not place the cameras and he does not know who did so. He noted that the footage released Wednesday was shot on hand-held cameras.
Moriarty said video footage of alleged animal abuse sometimes isn’t enough for Crown counsel to lay charges and can be difficult to analyze. She says the BC SPCA were provided with around four minutes of footage. But she said the SPCA will be inspecting the farm “to determine what practices are occurring on this farm.”
Moriarty noted that every pig farm must have a herd health management plan.
“In viewing that video, I’d be very interested to see what that [farm’s] herd health management plan is.”