Elite Farm Services workers seen throwing chickens at a Chilliwack farm in undercover video filmed by Mercy for Animals.

UPDATE: Chilliwack company and owner faces charges for 2017 abuse of chickens

CFIA investigation leads to 38 charges against Elite Farm Services and Ontario-based Sofina Foods

A Chilliwack company, its owner, and an Ontario company face a total of 38 charges under the Health of Animals Regulations in connection with alleged animal abuse caught on video at Fraser Valley poultry farms a year and a half ago.

One video shot at an Elite Farm Services operation in Chilliwack and showed chickens being kicked, stomped on, sexually abused and having their limbs torn off.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack chicken catchers accused of ‘torturing’ birds in undercover videos

The charges come as a result of an investigation by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) following receipt of an undercover video.

Facing 38 charges are Elite Farm Services Ltd., the company’s owner Dwayne Paul Dueck from Chilliwack, and Sofina Foods Inc./Aliments Sofina Inc., Markham, Ont.

The charges stem from undercover videos filmed by animal protection group Mercy For Animals (MFA) whose managing director said more charges under different statutes could be coming.

“It’s high time Elite Farm Services and Sofina Foods were held accountable for their blatant mistreatment of chickens, who feel pain and suffering just like dogs and cats,” MFA managing director Alanna Devine said in a press release. “We are also anxiously waiting to see whether further charges will be laid after the BC SPCA recommended multiple charges of animal cruelty under both the Criminal Code of Canada and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act over a year ago.”

The specific sections of the Health of Animal Regulations alleged to have been violated are 139(1) “No person shall beat an animal being loaded or unloaded in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to it,” and 139(2) “No person shall load or unload, or cause to be loaded or unloaded, an animal in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering to it.

The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS), which expressed concern in May of this year how long it was taking for charges to laid, issued a statement Thursday.

• READ MORE: One year later, still no charges in Chilliwack chicken abuse case

“We’re pleased that charges have finally been laid in this case, which involves allegations of some of the worst animal abuse we’ve seen,” said VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker. “Those responsible should be held to account and punished to the full extent of the law.”

Lawyer and director of Farmed Animal Advocacy, Tweeted out that it was “pretty major” that companies were being charged rather than just low-level farmworkers as is often the case.

• RELATED: Last man sentenced in Chilliwack cattle abuse gets 45 days

“Industry usually dismisses cruelty uncovered in investigations as being the result of a few bad apples. Low-level workers are thrown under the bus. In this case, it’s rightly the companies being held to account for creating and permitting a climate in which cruelty flourishes.”

Elite Farm Services, Dwayne Paul Dueck, and Sofina Foods are scheduled to appear in Chilliwack provincial court on Dec. 18.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 case confirmed at Highstreet Walmart in Abbotsford

Fraser Health sends out letter to those who might have had contact with individual

Racism wasn’t dealt with properly by school, says Chilliwack graduate

Woman tells story of being verbally assaulted at school for being black

Public participation is coming back to Chilliwack council meetings

City of Chilliwack will use Zoom video conferencing to allow the public to make presentations

VIDEO: Trees fall into Vedder River as loop trail damaged by erosion

High stream flows directed at river bank caused section of Vedder Rotary loop trail to erode

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

New study is first full list of species that only exist in Canada

Almost 40 per cent of them are critically imperilled or imperilled and eight are already extinct

Most Read