Petition demands Loblaw adopt meaningful animal welfare policies in wake of horrific chicken video

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      A website featuring a now-notorious chicken-abuse video has a memorable URL:

      And the website points a finger directly at Canada's largest supermarket chain.

      Loblaw subsidiaries buy chickens from a supplier that contracted work from the company shown in the video.

      The website invites visitors to sign a petition beneath these words: "Lilydale is a Loblaws chicken supplier. Demand that Loblaws immediately adopt meaningful animal welfare policies for its supply chains. Act now!"

      Warning: This Mercy for Animals video includes very gruesome images of the treatment of live chickens.
      Mercy for Animals

      Loblaw Companies Limited owns Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, Loblaws City Markets, Shoppers Drug Mart, and Joe Fresh.

      The petition comes in the wake of yesterday's announcement by the B.C. SPCA that it has launched an investigation into the actions of workers and a supervisor at Elite Farm Services Ltd. in Chilliwack. It was prompted by an undercover video by Mercy for Animals.

      Elite was licensed to round up chickens to be transported to Lilydale, which is owned by Sofina Foods. Sofina is a supplier to Loblaws companies.

      “The images in this video are absolutely sickening and the individual employees and the companies involved need to be held accountable,” Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer for the B.C. SPCA, said in a news release. 

      Today, Sofina Foods issued a statement saying it has reviewed the "horrific footage taken with a hidden camera".

      "We are appalled and extremely shocked by the video footage we saw of a few of our supplier’s employees displaying disturbing and unacceptable behaviours that Sofina Foods Inc. does not in any way tolerate or condone," the company stated. "Ethical and responsible treatment of animals is of utmost importance to our organization."

      It added that it has contacted Elite "and requested that all of the supplier’s employees involved in the abusive behaviours be dismissed immediately".

      Loblaw Companies also issued a statement, saying it is investigating the situation.

      "We have zero tolerance for any animal abuse and have made it very clear to the supplier that this behaviour has absolutely no place in our food supply chain. The supplier agrees and has already asked their service provider, whose employees are seen in the video, to dismiss the offending individuals." 

      Loblaw added that its companies "stand firmly behind the standards set by the National Farm Animal Care Council, the policies outlined by the Chicken Farmers of Canada, and our own commitment to animal welfare which is clearly articulated in our Supplier Code of Conduct, and in our Animal Welfare principles".

      Beneath the petition on are quotes from several animal experts declaring how appalled they are by the video.

      "The egregious mishandling of these birds documented in this video is truly sickening and represents the most inhumane and callous mistreatment I have ever encountered," declares one of them, Los Angeles veterinarian Armati May. "These facilities demonstrate horrific abuse of their birds and very poor oversight of their workers.”