Mercy for Animals Canada has accused Maple Leaf Foods of “cooking chicks to death” at one of its hatcheries after one of its advocates shot undercover footage of the abuse while working at Horizon Poultry in Ontario over a month and a half. According to the footage given to the Canadian Broadcast Company (CBC), dead chicks were shown emerging from a dishwasher, after (likely) having their feet entangled in baskets, as well as “an employee euthanizing sick and injured chicks by dumping several large baskets of chicks into a mechanical macerator and pushing them into the grinder with a squeegee.” Still more of the video shows employees tossing birds by their wings.
Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada’s leading retailers of both raw and processed chickens, selling them under brand names including Maple Leaf Prime, Maple Leaf Natural Selections and Schneiders.
After being shown the film, Maple Leaf manager of poultry operations, Ben Brooks, stated that “Maple Leaf Foods has a public animal welfare policy that states that the company takes a zero-tolerance stance on animal cruelty. Everyone involved in the raising and processing of animals and poultry, from producers and transport workers to all of our employees, are required to adhere to good animal handling practices in accordance with industry guidelines, serving as stewards of the animals entrusted to their care.” He also added that the company is “,reviewing procedures and practices at this location to ensure that live chicks are removed safely at all times, as they should be.”
In the meantime, the CBC reports that Mercy for Animals has filed a complaint with the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which enforces provincial animal cruelty legislation, and theOSPCA is investigating. It should also be noted that complaints of additional animal abuse have been issued against Maple Leaf’s turkey suppliers, Hybrid Turkeys in southwestern Ontario.