The Canadian Food Inspection Agency recently made the long-overdue decision to overhaul its food safety regulations, including those governing the slaughter of farmed animals. Unfortunately, the proposed regulations don’t go far enough to protect animals.
Most of the proposed changes deal with food safety and do little to improve animal welfare and humane handling. To remedy this, MFA went on record with the CFIA, submitting comments advocating improved protections for farmed animals during slaughter.
Specifically, MFA recommends that the CFIA amend the proposed regulations as follows:
- Replace conventional live-shackle slaughter systems for birds with less cruel controlled atmosphere stunning—this would significantly reduce stress for the birds and lower the risk of food contamination. It would also increase worker safety in an industry rife with underreported serious injuries.
- Require all slaughterhouses to train their workers in humane animal handling procedures—this includes not only proper stunning methods,
but also identifying illness and injury in animals.
- Authorize official veterinarians and inspectors to halt any production line for failure to meet these standards until an inspector determines the facility is in compliance again—penalties for noncompliance should include substantial fines.
- Ban the use of electric prods—this old technology is inherently cruel, causing stress, bruising, and bleeding, especially to injured and sick animals.
- Require cameras in slaughterhouses—France recently passed a bill mandating cameras in slaughterhouses to ensure that all animals are properly stunned before slaughter, a move undertaken by Israel in 2016.
Years of lobbying and undercover investigations have shown us how important these modest, commonsense reforms are to sparing farmed animals from some of the worst institutionalized animal cruelty. The Canadian animal agriculture industry has a tragically long and well-documented history of farmed animal abuse, as evidenced by the recent Chilliwack Cattle Sales animal cruelty convictions and the thousands of dollars in fines repeatedly levied against Maple Lodge Farms for allowing hens to freeze to death en route to slaughter.
Strengthening the treatment requirements for animals sent to slaughter is a step in the right direction. But there is still a long way to go toward ensuring that Canadian slaughter regulations actually protect the welfare of animals killed for food in the country.
Thankfully, there is a way to end this animal suffering: making compassionate eating choices. Click here to order your FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide today!