The BC SPCA is lobbying the government for mandatory video surveillance in federal slaughter facilities.
The organization says ensuring good welfare during slaughter is very important, as millions of animals are slaughtered for food in Canada each year.
According to the BC SPCA, there are many stages throughout the process where animals can suffer – from unloading, to waiting in holding pens, and the stunning and slaughter itself.
Requirements for the slaughter of animals for food are set out in the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations, which include a section on humane treatment of animals. The regulations specify it is the responsibility of the slaughter facility to ensure requirements are met.
The BC SPCA along with other agencies believes inspection alone is not enough to ensure animals are being treated humanely at all times.
A number of high profile cases involving animal cruelty in recent years has pushed the issue to the forefront. A group of activists that occupied a Fraser Valley hog farm in 2019 accused of animal cruelty is making the same demand.
Both the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture agree that video surveillance can complement the live, on-site monitoring that currently takes place, according to the SPCA.
"Canadians want to know that farm animals are well-cared for throughout their life. When reviewed by an independent third-party, video surveillance is a powerful monitoring tool that can ensure accountability and transparency in the slaughter process. It would help build trust with Canadians that animals raised for food are being treated with the respect they deserve. Similar laws have already been passed in Israel, France, England, Scotland, Spain and Wales," a news release from the BC SPCA said.
A petition can be signed on the SPCA's website.