Broiler chicken farmer Ron Neels’ two-year-old son Scott in his Rosedale barn with the birds. (Ron Neels.)

Chilliwack chicken farmer looks for a kinder, gentler image

Broiler producer says abuse is not the norm and makes no sense ethically and economically

The recent news reports of chicken catchers caught on video abusing birds at a Chilliwack broiler farm prompted disgust across the country and within the agriculture industry.

The Chicken Farmers of Canada called the Mercy for Animals undercover footage “shocking and reprehensible,” and the company at the centre of the allegations said they were “sickened” by the images.

But what about the good things that go on at farms across the Fraser Valley?

One local farmer put out a request for the media to report on the positive side of his business. Ron Neels runs Corona Farms in Rosedale, and he sent photos of his two-year-old son Scott happily hanging out with about 17,000 content-looking broiler chickens in his barn.

“The fact remains that the sadistic behaviour of a handful of individuals who are contracted to catch chickens is not representative in any way at all of the poultry industry,” Neels said in an email. “We pride ourselves in being humane and compassionate stewards of the animals in our care.”

Neels said that great care is taken to attend to the needs of the birds, not just for animal welfare reasons but pure economic reasons as well.

“It makes no sense whatsoever to abuse the animals in my care,” he said. “It would be ethically reprehensible an economically disastrous to do so.”

A number of employees the Chilliwack-based chicken catching company involved in the abuse footage were fired, and the company said supervisors will now be equipped with body cameras.


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paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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Broiler chicken farmer Ron Neels’ two-year-old son Scott in his Rosedale barn with the birds. (Ron Neels.)

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