Animal rights group targets Quebec auction houses
CTV News: Animal rights group claims videotape reveals terrible cruelty in Quebec auction houses 
Dec 17, 2002
CTV News Staff

An international animal rights group is raising concern over the treatment of animals in Quebec's auction houses with a video that shows angry employees taking out their stress on calves and pigs.

The video was shot for the German animal rights group, Animal Angels, with a hidden camera used to document what went on at one Quebec animal auction house.

"The ventilation did not work, it was forty degrees and very humid," said Leslie Moffat of Animal Angels. "And there was negligence -- animals were left there until 5 o'clock in the morning. They'd been there for 24 hours without any water. It was so hot and they were left to die."

Auction house owner Real Sage said the video is deceptive -- edited so only the worst offences are shown. He admits employees sometimes lose their temper under the stress of the job. Sage said that is rare.

Animal rights group say cruelty is part of the routine. In one part of the video, a worker uses a cattle prod intended only for large cows on calves in a closed pen.

"It has become such an automatism that he's doing it constantly even though he's not asking them to go anywhere," said Pierre Barnotti of the SPCA, referring to the video.

"That gives you an indication of how deep the problem is."

Quebec has had an animal protection act for nearly a decade. It fails to protect animals in auction houses because the government says it's not worth using inspectors to enforce it, CTV's Jed Kahane reports.

Agriculture minister Maxime Arseneau said the province only inspects auction houses if they get a complaint.

"The government says its 200 inspectors are too busy checking out restaurants, making sure the health of humans is not at risk," Kahane said.

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