Just one year after the BC SPCA investigated a shocking case of abuse and torture of broiler chickens by employees of Elite Farm Services Ltd. in Chilliwack, SPCA constables are investigating further allegations of animal cruelty involving the same company and a Fraser Valley chicken farm, Jaedel Enterprises. In 2017, the BC SPCA recommended charges of animal cruelty against Elite Farm Services, a licensed chicken-catching service, but is still waiting to hear if Crown plans to approve the charges.
“When we carried out our investigation last year, the public was rightfully outraged and sickened by the images of the violence and torture inflicted on these helpless animals,” said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the BC SPCA. “It is extremely disappointing that we are investigating another situation where chickens have allegedly suffered as a result of what appears to be a blatant disregard to adherence of the industry’s own agreed-upon standards of care and a failure to either comply with or put in place processes to ensure this type of suffering does not occur.”
“This time last year, we heard clear assurances by the industry and Elite that they were committed to ensuring the proper care and handling of their birds,” says Moriarty. However, the recommendations by the BC SPCA that the industry support the incorporation of the Codes of Practice for Poultry in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act regulations to date have been ignored.
“Quite frankly, this new video footage leaves me feeling disillusioned and questioning whether in fact there are sufficient systems in place to ensure the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Hatching Eggs, Breeders, Chickens and Turkeys are being upheld.”
Moriarty notes that strong actions were taken three years ago by the dairy industry when a Mercy for Animals undercover video highlighted the abuse of dairy cows in Chilliwack. In that case, a BC SPCA investigation led to charges of animal cruelty against the individuals and company involved, as well as widespread industry changes.
“In that case the BC SPCA also worked with the provincial government to have the Code of Practice for Dairy Cattle adopted into a new regulation, so that the “generally accepted practices” outlined in the code became clearly entrenched in the law,” says Moriarty. “We had hoped to see the same support by the chicken industry.”
If charged and convicted, the individuals and companies involved in this latest investigation face a fine up to $75,000, a maximum five-year jail sentence and up to a lifetime ban on owning or being around animals.