Update: The federal petition for video surveillance in slaughter facilities has now closed. More than 9,000 Canadians voiced their concern about this issue. Thank you to everyone who spoke up for farm animals – the petition is currently awaiting government response.
Original story: July 14, 2022
The BC SPCA is urging Canadians to sign an official federal government petition calling for video surveillance in federal slaughter facilities. Ensuring good welfare during slaughter is very important, as millions of animals are slaughtered for food in Canada each year. There are many stages throughout the process where animals can suffer – from unloading, to waiting in holding pens, and the stunning and slaughter itself. It is crucial that slaughter is carefully monitored to ensure that the regulations are being followed.
Federal slaughter facilities are regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and can sell their products throughout Canada and abroad. Provincial slaughter facilities can only sell within their province, and are separately regulated.
Requirements for the slaughter of animals for food are set out in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, which include a section on humane treatment of animals. Requirements cover animal handling, animal monitoring, relieving animal suffering, separating sick or incompatible animals, preventing overcrowding and adequate ventilation. It is the responsibility of the slaughter facility to ensure these requirements are met, and CFIA inspectors enforce the regulations by verifying compliance through on-site inspections and supervision.
However, inspection alone is not enough to ensure animals are being treated humanely at all times. Both the CFIA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture agree that video surveillance can complement the live, on-site monitoring that currently takes place.
Canadians want to know that farm animals are well-cared for throughout their life. When reviewed by an independent third-party, video surveillance is a powerful monitoring tool that can ensure accountability and transparency in the slaughter process. It would help build trust with Canadians that animals raised for food are being treated with the respect they deserve. Similar laws have already been passed in Israel, France, England, Scotland, Spain and Wales.
The BC SPCA advocates for a humane life and humane death for animals raised for food. Join the BC SPCA now to call upon the Government of Canada to implement video surveillance in federal slaughter facilities that can be viewed by both CFIA officials and an independent third-party.