5 Undercover Investigations That Blew the Lid Off Canada’s Factory Farming Industry

Mercy For Animals has conducted a dozen undercover investigations at factory farms across Canada. And the results have been nothing short of groundbreaking. From animal cruelty convictions and national news coverage to new animal protection regulations, MFA’s work is changing the landscape for farmed animals in Canada.

1. Chilliwack Cattle Company (2014)

An MFA undercover video exposed workers at Chilliwack Cattle Sales—Canada’s largest dairy factory farm—beating, kicking, and punching animals; using chains and tractors to hoist cows into the air; poking and squeezing festering wounds; and punching bulls in the testicles.

This investigation led to a total of 20 animal cruelty charges against the factory farm and its owners. The charges led to convictions. The factory farm pleaded guilty to three counts of animal cruelty. One of its owners, Wesley Kooyman, pleaded guilty to one count. The company and Kooyman were sentenced to the maximum monetary penalty allowable by law—a fine of $75,000 per count. Kooyman was also prohibited from owning animals and having any control over the factory farm for one year.

The Chilliwack investigation also led to a new regulation. On July 8, 2015, the British Columbian government announced it would incorporate the National Dairy Code of Practice into the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to improve protections for cattle on dairies.

2. Délimax Veal (2014)

Covert cameras revealed calves living on feces-covered floors in wooden crates barely larger than their own bodies, often chained by the neck, unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably for their entire lives.

The investigation garnered international media attention, and one worker was convicted of animal cruelty. Additionally, the Ontario and Quebec veal associations, as well as major retailers Loblaws, Sobeys, and Metro, agreed to ban veal crates. This means that 97 percent of veal produced in Canada will be crate-free by 2018.

3. Western Hog Exchange (2014)

Crammed into overcrowded trailers and forced to endure grueling conditions in all weather extremes without food, water, or rest, every year in Canada more than 8 million farmed animals arrive at slaughterhouses dead or so sick or injured that they must be killed. At Western Hog Exchange, a pig assembly yard in Alberta, this undercover investigation revealed shocking animal abuse and neglect in the livestock transportation industry.

The hidden-camera video shows sick and injured animals who had just been trucked hundreds of kilometers in extreme weather being violently beaten by workers in full view of government inspectors. The footage also shows “downer animals who were unable to walk being shocked with electric prods and left to suffer without proper veterinary care.

The investigation paved the way to the first review in over 40 years of Canada’s animal transport regulations. A new animal welfare caucus was also formed.

4. Puratone (Interlake Weanlings) (2012)

An MFA investigator documented blatant animal abuse at one of Canada’s largest pork producers, Puratone in Arborg, Manitoba. Hidden-camera footage exposed thousands of pregnant pigs confined to filthy metal gestation crates so small the animals were unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably, workers firing metal bolts into pigs’ skulls, pigs with open wounds and pressure sores from rubbing against the bars of their tiny cages, and workers slamming piglets into the ground and leaving them to suffer and slowly die.

The investigation led to massive welfare reforms, such as a ban on gestation crates and mutilations without painkillers by major retailers, the Canadian Pork Council, and the National Farm Animal Care Council.

5. Creekside/Kuku (2013)

An MFA undercover investigation in Morinville, Alberta, documented systemic violence and cruelty to chickens at McDonald’s Canada’s exclusive egg provider.

The disturbing undercover footage reveals unconscionable abuses, including thousands of hens crammed inside tiny wire battery cages, each bird with floor space about the size of a sheet of notebook paper; birds mangled in cage wire; and dead hens left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption.

After MFA’s investigation, McDonald’s adopted a cage-free policy, as did dozens of major retailers, such as Walmart and Loblaws.

Through our undercover work, MFA has shown Canadians the harsh reality behind meat, dairy, and eggs and has helped alleviate some of the worst animal suffering. Help us continue our lifesaving work by becoming an Investigator Ally today.