Maple Lodge Farms calls video of alleged abuse 'disturbing'
Krista Osborne, of Mercy for Animals Canada, describes the hidden-camera video allegedly exposing animal abuse at a Maple Lodge Farms facility in Brampton on Monday, March 30, 2015. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)
For the second time in as many years, Canadian poultry processor Maple Lodge Farms is taking heat following the release of video footage allegedly showing doomed chickens being abused before their slaughter.
The animal advocacy group, Mercy For Animals (MFA), displayed video Monday that it says was secretly shot at Maple Lodge Farms' Brampton processing facility.
MFA claims that the video shows workers in the plant throwing crates of hens to the ground and abusing bloodied chickens with already-broken wings and legs before hanging them upside down on a moving conveyor belt to be shocked and then slaughtered.
One piece of footage seems to show a worker in white overalls punch a chicken for no apparent reason as it passes by him. Another jokes on how chickens that had frozen to death during transport were like "popsicles."
MFA also claims some chickens were still alive and locked in crates when sent through a scalding-hot industrial washing machine used to remove feathers. The video was shot by an MFA member who went undercover at the facility after landing a job there.
Maple Lodge Farms CEO Michael Burrows was quick to respond.
"You may have seen a video taped without our knowledge or consent at our Brampton facility by (MFA) Canada," said Burrows in a video statement on the company's website. He called the footage "disturbing," and vowed the company will "implement any changes needed so that incidents like this don't happen again."
He also said Maple Lodge Farms has a "zero tolerance policy" when it comes to violation of its animal welfare polices, and that "disciplinary action" will be taken -- including the possible firing of employees.
Too little, too late, says MFA's Krista Osborne, who called on the company to ensure the humane treatment of animals destined for dinner plates.