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Animal welfare experts weigh in on Canadian hog farm video

By Rita Jane Gabbett

An independent panel of animal well-being experts concluded most of the actions depicted in a video released yesterday by the group Mercy For Animals (which promotes a vegetarian diet) were mischaracterized and often were actually acceptable humane practices.

The Animal Care Review Panel was created specifically to analyze undercover video investigations at livestock farms. The panel does not submit its reports to the pork industry for review or approval.

Panel members included: Laurie Connor, University of Manitoba head of the Department of Animal Science; Bob Friendship, professor at Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph; and Jennifer Brown, a research scientist in ethnology at the Prairie Swine Centre.

In a detailed report, the panelists took the video segment by segment and explained why certain animal behaviors that Mercy for Animals depicted as abusive — such as sows biting at their bars of their stalls at feeding time, piglets being euthanized with blunt force trauma and piglet castration — were all acceptable and humane animal husbandry practices.

The panel also pointed out some practices depicted in the video that were not acceptable, such as employees kicking and slapping and pulling animals’ ears.

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