Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Up to 500 dead hogs found in Manitoba  

June 21, 2010 CBC News

Parts from hogs that police say were severely neglected remain strewn in the yard of a southern Manitoba farm. The Manitoba government and the RCMP are investigating what they're calling a case of severe neglect of thousands of hogs at a southern Manitoba farm. Investigators spent the weekend removing dead and sick hogs from a barn on a farm in the community of Notre Dame de Lourdes, 100 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.

As many as 500 dead animals were taken out of the barn and a further 160 had to be killed, veterinary officials said. More than 2,000 were rescued, but some are very sick, officials said.

A man on a nearby Hutterite colony that sells feed to the farm said he hadn't gotten an order in a long time and went to investigate, said CBC reporter Lyndsay Duncombe. On arrival at the farm, the man said he found the feed bins full. He discovered the dead and sick hogs when he poked his head into the barn, Duncombe said.

RCMP said in a statement that "clear evidence of severe neglect was observed" by officers called to the scene. The statement did not say if criminal charges were being considered.

The president of Manitoba's pork council described the case as "devastating." "As an industry, we don't condone this type of treatment to animals. We go out of our way to make sure that animals are taken care of properly," Karl Kynoch said. "They provide us with a living and that's what we do?  We raise animals and take care of them so it's very devastating to the industry to hear this type of thing," he said. The provincial agriculture ministry and veterinary officials are investigating. 

Hog barn blaze fuels speculation about cruelty probe 

June 24, 2010 Britt Harvey, Winnipeg Free Press    

NOTRE DAME de LOURDES -- A fire that burned down a barn early Wednesday morning sparked even more suspicion here about the hog operation, which was already under police investigation. Last week, 2,000 hogs were found at the barn, some of them dead and decomposing. On Wednesday, as smoke rose above the charred skeleton of the barn, neighbours asked more questions about what went on at the pig farm. 

Joelle Desrochers said she was surprised the barn's owner was not around as firefighters fought the blaze. "All of us were standing out on our lawns watching them fight the fire," she said. "But I never saw the family who owns the barn, you'd think if your barn was burning down you'd be concerned." Desrochers said a barn on the same spot burned down 10 years ago. 

Another neighbour who did not want to be identified said he had not slept for four days. He had been involved with the cleanup of the barn and to see it go up in flames was too much to bear. "It's really just the cherry on top of what has been a horrible week," he said. "I have kids, and it starts to get you concerned." 

Notre Dame de Lourdes fire chief Stefan Dupasquier said the barn was engulfed in flames when he arrived. "I got the call around 1:15 a.m and it took us until 6 a.m to put it out," he said. It took more than 30 firefighters to put out the flames, and Dupasquier said there is still a lot of work ahead. While the fire remains under investigation, Dupasquier called it suspicious. No animals were in the barn at the time. Last week, it was a different scene that led to an investigation that could result in animal cruelty charges. 

The hogs were owned by a nearby Hutterite colony that alerted the RCMP when they were denied access to their animals. Manitoba Agriculture and the provincial veterinarian's office are handling that probe, with help from the RCMP. 

Desrochers said the trauma of discovering the dead hogs is still very much on the neighbours' minds. "Last week, the smell from the barn was so bad my kids could not go outside to play," Desrochers said. "And now the fire, when is it going to stop?" 

One woman said the town is abuzz with rumours, but added most are concerned with the family who owns the barn. "We are all very worried and hope there is somehow another explanation for this," she said. "It's a close-knit community and we all are wondering if there was something we could have done to help." The farm's owner couldn't be reached. 

Carmina Gooch’s letter of June 30, 2010 

To: Honourable Swan, Minister of Justice
Honourable Stan Struthers, Minister of Agriculture
From: Carmina Gooch, Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC 

Re: Horrendous Pig Cruelty  

Dear Sirs: 

I am shocked to learn about the horrendous pig cruelty on a farm in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba. The RCMP and staff from the provincial agriculture department were called to the farm on June 18th and made a gruesome discovery. About 2,400 pigs were locked in a barn, and between 300 and 500 were already deceased and decomposing. They had starved and suffocated to death. Others had to be euthanized because of poor health, while the remainder are under care.  

RCMP Sgt. Line Karpish said there was "clear evidence of severe neglect." "The feeding, watering and ventilation systems in the barn were not functioning properly," said Dale Douma, the lead veterinary inspector from the agriculture department's animal welfare program.

No animals should ever have to endure such terrible suffering, and whoever is responsible must be charged under either the provincial Animal Care Act, the federal Criminal Code or both. This is a crime of the worst magnitude and justice must be served.    

The Manitoba Animal Care Act says that anyone who owns or has control of an animal has certain responsibilities under the law. Those include making sure:

  • the animal has adequate food and water,
  • has adequate medical attention when needed,
  • has reasonable protection from extreme heat or cold,
  • and is not confined to an area or an enclosure that doesn't have enough room, that has unsanitary conditions or inadequate ventilation, or that doesn't allow the animal an opportunity to exercise.

The Act also clearly says that no one "shall inflict upon an animal acute suffering, serious injury or harm, or extreme anxiety or distress that significantly impairs its health or well-being." 

Further to this disturbing news, RCMP has now confirmed that the same barn which housed the suffering animals, burned down on June 23, 2010. This is extremely suspicious and warrants a full investigation. 

Please make this case a top priority. Cruelty to animals cannot go unpunished.

Stop the Live-Burnings!  Canadian Statistics of Animal Lives Lost from Barn Fires

2007 - 3,700 burned alive
2008 - 30,500 burned alive
2009 - 51,900 burned alive
2010 (to June) - 110,666 burned alive 

Please contact the Honourable Gerry Ritz - Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada ask him to protect these animals by ensuring smoke alarms and sprinkler systems are retrofitted into existing hog barns, where risk of fire is greatest. 

For the vast majority of farm animals, misery is a way of life. According to scientific and government sources, each year millions of animals are severely confined, stressed, broken, mistreated, and traumatized on their way to the non-vegetarian's dinner plate, victims of a system that allows such rampant and widespread inhumanity and brutality. Do yourself, the animals, and the planet a favour - choose a healthy, cruelty-free vegan diet.

July 29, 2010  

This is in response to your email regarding the circumstances surrounding a recent animal welfare incident near Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba. 

I agree that this was a very tragic event; however, I am not at liberty to discuss the details of this case as they are part of an ongoing investigation. 

Manitoba’s Chief Veterinary Officer is working closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Office of the Fire Commissioner.  Once the investigation is concluded, Manitoba’s Prosecution Office will review the evidence. 

Any decision regarding laying charges under The Animal Care Act of Manitoba will be made at that time.  The province is also working with federal officials who are investigating the case under the Criminal Code of Canada. 

Thank you for writing on this important and tragic matter.

Update: June 3, 2011 Manitoba pig producer, Martin Grenier, 39, has been fined $60,000 after pleading guilty to animal cruelty charges. That's almost double the previous highest fine levied for an animal cruelty case in Manitoba. In addition, he has also been banned from owning livestock for the rest of his life. He pleaded guilty to more than a dozen Animal Care Act charges, including failing to provide adequate food and water to livestock, failing to provide adequate medical attention and failing to consult a veterinarian.

Mr. Grenier’s defence lawyer said he was suffering from a severe bout of depression. However, comments to news articles, like that in the Winnipeg Sun, said he could be seen “strutting” around town, smiling and waving. The judicial process is one of negotiation and manipulation of law by legal actors with the punishment often not reflecting the severity of the crime. In this instance, however, Judge Moar heard the evidence, at one point describing the conditions as “nightmarish” and ruled.

Identical charges were stayed against his wife on the undertaking she would be banned from owning or possessing pigs for five years.

In June 2010 the RCMP and Manitoba Agriculture and found hundreds of dead pigs and 2,200 more living in filth with no food, water or light. Hundreds had to be euthanized and skull fragments were found from 632 animals that had been consumed by other pigs.

Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Food Animals (CETFA) and the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals (CCFA) are asking Manitoba’s pork industry to voluntarily phase out sow stalls by 2017. The Rabbit Advocacy Group of BC is one of the organizations belong to CCFA.

July 7, 2014 Fire rips through Bentley Hutterite pig barn, killing over 4,000

The National Model Codes are overseen by the Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes (CCBFC) – an independent committee of experts that was established by the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). They are also the experts responsible for the National Farm Code.

The Model Code development process allows any Canadian can submit requested Code changes or amendments through the CCBFC. Suggestions can be submitted through the code change request.

For more updates and news visit our Factory Farming Page

Canada - Two farmers charged with animal cruelty

July 4, 2010 Vancouver Sun, also found in meattradenewsdaily.co.uk

Two Outlook residents have pleaded guilty in connection with a discovery that an SPCA official called “one of the worst the Society has dealt with in the past decade,” after hundreds of dead cattle were found on a farm in 2009. 

Wayne and Barrett Robinson appeared Thursday in Outlook provincial court, where they pleaded guilty to causing or allowing their cattle to be or continue to be in distress. They were fined $5,000 each and a surcharge of $750 each. In addition, both are barred for 10 years from owning any animal other than a cat or dog.  

On March 2, 2009, Saskatchewan SPCA received a complaint about dead and starving cattle on the farm located northeast of Outlook. An animal protection officer found a herd of beef cattle in severe distress, appearing emaciated or in otherwise poor condition. On March 4, 288 live animals were seized, while another 14 were euthanized because of their poor physical condition.The number of dead cattle found on the property was estimated at more than 250. 

“It was difficult to walk in the feeding area due to the large number of carcasses found on the ground,” said Lloyd Howden of the SPCA.

News from the Farm Sanctuary (USA) We are working to pass the Federal Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which would prohibit the federal government from spending your tax dollars on products from animals who were imprisoned in cruel gestation crates, battery cages or veal crates. Currently, more than $1 billion is spent on animal products for government-funded programs in schools, prisons and other facilities. If we have success in supporting its passage, this critical bill will send a clear message to agribusiness that the U.S. government will no longer turn a blind eye to the inhumane treatment of animals raised for food.

Eradicating cruel confinement systems that keep chickens, pigs and calves in cages and crates so small that they cannot turn around, stand up or lie down comfortably, or spread their wings. Farm Sanctuary is building support for anti-confinement legislation now pending in Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts.

We face massive opposition from agribusiness, which is determined to continue “business as usual”— unspeakable cruelty to living, feeling animals. (this is an ongoing campaign)

January 15, 2012 Toronto activists protest pig slaughter

October 6, 2016 Pig Slaughterhouse Should be Charged with Criminal Animal Cruelty: Animal Rights Lawyers updates 2017 - 2020

September 25, 2012  1,300 piglets annihilated “Euthanasia” as euphemism

Comment: The cruelty to animals raised for food is unimaginable; all perfectly legal and standard practice. Government supports this industry with our tax dollars. Manitoba pork producers seek $130M bailout reads 09/17/12 headline from the Canadian Press.  A Manitoba farm group is calling for $130 million in government loan guarantees to help producers deal with what it calls the worst crisis in the history of Canada's pork industry.

Let them go broke! We all have the power to make ethical choices and it seems we are doing just that. People are reducing their consumption of animal products. We have a long way to go but we are driving change.

January 27, 2014 2nd case of deadly pig virus confirmed in Ontario

June 4, 2015 Pig found loose near perimeter sent to slaughter before activists could buy her (Manitoba)

Comment: We were among the many who contacted various agencies and the media regarding this news story. It speaks volumes as to this heartless industry. Animals are viewed as commodities and nothing more. As they are regarded as property under the law, they don’t have rights. It’s up to us to take action on their behalf. You can boycott, stage demonstrations, contact politicians, write the media, and avoid animal products. Spread the word!  

Comment: Every single undercover video by groups such as Mercy for Animals, Glass Walls, Last Chance for Animals, PETA, and others, have exposed shocking and cruel treatment of animals exploited at the hands of the meat, egg and dairy industries. Thankfully, the public is waking up and recognizing that the idyllic portraits presented by animal agriculture industries are nothing more than attempts to maximize profits while concealing a gruesome reality. Animals categorized as pets would never be treated in the same manner as those raised for food.

The exploitation of animals is pervasive, entrenched, & horrific. We can all do something to stop it.

April 24, 2019  BC SPCA to investigate 'horrific' footage shot at Excelsior Hog Farm, Abbotsford.

It is owned in part by Ray Binnendyk, a member of the board of directors of the BC Pork Producers Association. The video, shot in February and March, and subsequently released to PETA, shows pigs cramped inside metal crates. Severely injured and lame pigs can also be seen, as well as dead piglets, and a larger pig’s corpse which appears to be in an advanced state of decomposition.

On April 29, about 200 activists arrived by two busloads and occupied upon the barn for several hours. The farm is cooperating with investigators. Every single hidden camera video shows why the animal agriculture industry cannot be trusted to raise animals humanely and why it cannot continue to self-regulate. It has operated in secret for far too long and if trespass is what it takes to bring the atrocities to the public’s attention, so be it. We deserve an open and transparent system.

May 12, 2019 The Intercept: Animal Rights Activists Push Legal Boundaries in Canada

Asked what she expected from the Excelsior investigation, Anna Pippus, an animal welfare lawyer, replied, “Nothing.” The goal, then, in publishing such footage is less to trigger penalties and more to shock the public into changing the system……

Comment: If the law doesn’t respond to changing societal values & those charged with enforcing the law  fail in their duties, one could argue that a person has an obligation to step in. We cannot let animal abusers, others triumph.

August - September, 2020 UPDATE: Four activists have been hit with a number of criminal charges for break and enter to commit an indictable offence and mischief with in regard to alleged actions last year at Excelsior hog farm in Abbotsford. The SPCA was given video so they could investigate as to animal cruelty, yet it appears charges will not be pursued, as indicated by Crown Counsel. This is a perversion of justice.

Comment: Instead of prosecuting people who reveal illegal animal cruelty on farms, police should be focused on monitoring and prosecuting farms that abuse animals. "To charge whistleblowers, and ignore their findings is a travesty of justice, and an example of the lengths that animal agriculture will go to hide the truth," says retired RCMP Corporal Dan Moskaluk.  https://www.abbynews.com/news/photos-court-appearance-for-pig-farm-animal-activists-met-with-protesters/

June 27, 2022 UPDATE Today, the Excelsior 4 (now 3) begin their trial by jury for exposing animal cruelty at a hog farm in Abbotsford; but there is no justice in this case. One of the Excelsior 4, Geoff Regier, had charges stayed in pre-trial. The remaining three, Roy Sasano, Amy Soranno, and Nick Schafer, face a combined total of fourteen serious charges. If convicted, they could be looking at years in prison. Read more: https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/excelsior-4-animal-cruelty-abbotsford

November 17, 2023 Exposed again: Abused, injured and rotting pigs at Excelsior hog farm in Abbotsford. The footage was captured between April and June of this year, and forwarded to Animal Justice. This is the 3rd time Excelsior has been exposed for illegal cruelty—yet it has NEVER faced legal consequences. Nothing –no transparency, no third-party audits. Thanks to undercover investigators who risk jail to expose the brutal truth of the animal agriculture industry. https://animaljustice.ca/exposes/abused-pigs-excelsior-hog-farm

In a world where most animals are worth more dead than alive…those that kill them are protected…and those that protect them are incarcerated. Who is the real terrorist?

Read more on our Factory Farm & Ethics Pages

Well worth watching - HBO documentary 'Death on a Factory Farm'

Be sure to visit our Websites/Articles page to see some of the organizations working to make our world a better place for animals.