Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. fined for offences under the Health of Animals Act
May 1, 2014, Ottawa: On September 27, 2013, two convictions were registered in the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton against Maple Lodge Farms Ltd., operating as Ontario Corporation number 92480. Subsequently, on March 27, 2014, sentences were imposed by Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton against Maple Lodge Farms Ltd., resulting in a total fine of $80,000 for the two counts. The company was also assessed a 15% victim fine surcharge for an additional payment of $12,000.
Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. also entered guilty pleas to an additional 18 counts, for other similar incidents involving undue suffering of poultry between December 2008 and April 2010, relating to undue exposure to weather, or inadequate ventilation. This resulted in a probation order which requires the company to invest no less than $1 million over the next three years to improve its current animal transportation operations. The company was also assessed a $100 victim fine surcharge for each of the 18 counts for a total of $1800.
The probation order also specifies a measure of public transparency, and requires the company to post a summary of the facts supporting the convictions in a prominent place on their website, in addition to reporting periodically to the Court.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) laid charges in 2010 against Maple Lodge Farms Ltd. for alleged contraventions of the Health of Animals Regulations that occurred between December 2008 and April 2010. The violations involved injury or undue suffering of chickens caused by undue exposure to weather or inadequate ventilation during transportation, contrary to section 143(1)(d) and (e) of the Health of Animals Regulations, which is an offence under section (65)(1) of the Health of Animals Act.
Every person responsible for transporting animals in Canada must ensure that the entire transportation process including loading, transit and unloading, does not cause injury or undue suffering to the animals. The federal requirements for animal transport are set out in the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII. They are enforced by the CFIA with assistance from other federal, provincial and territorial authorities.
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