AN undercover video filmed at a hog farm near Arborg, Man., reportedly shows "extreme cruelty" to adult swine and pigs at the farm, although a panel of animal science and veterinary specialists said most of what's depicted in the video is not abuse or cruelty.
The video, released Dec. 11 by Mercy For Animals Canada, was filmed over 10 weeks by an "investigator" for the group who had obtained employment at the farm, which is part of Puratone Corp., the third-largest hog producer in Canada.
Mercy For Animals said the film shows pigs experiencing horrific abuse and pain and used the film as a platform to argue against individual stalls for gestating sows, calling on retailers across Canada to demand "stall-free pork."
However, the Animal Care Review Panel said while the images in the video could be disturbing to watch, the practices the workers were shown carrying out are humane, standard practices for handling pigs, including castration and euthanasia. The panel added that the workers appeared to be well trained and efficient.
The review panel is comprised of animal well-being experts who analyze undercover video investigations at livestock farms. The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) created the Animal Care Review Panel to engage recognized animal care specialists to examine hidden camera video investigations and provide expert perspectives for food retailers, the pork industry and the media, according to an announcement.
The panel that examined the recent Manitoba video was comprised of Dr. Laurie Connor from the University of Manitoba, Dr. Jennifer Brown from the Prairie Swine Centre and Dr. Robert Friendship from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph.
Puratone chief executive officer Ray Hildebrand, in a statement, said the company is conducting its own investigation, and corrective actions will be taken where necessary.
Maple Leaf Foods Inc., which entered into an agreement last month to acquire Puratone, issued a similar statement. Puratone declared bankruptcy earlier this year (Feedstuffs, Nov. 5 and Sept. 17).
CFI is a not-for-profit corporation established to build consumer trust and confidence in the food system, with members representing every segment of the food system.