Update on Schegelhome Farms (Nov. 10, 2011)

I met with Mr. Clare Schlegel of Schlegelhome Farms at the 2011 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. We spoke of some common ground between activists and Mennonite farmers, like himself, and the importance of dialogue and learning. I promised to send him a DVD copy of the highly acclaimed documentary Forks over Knives which emphasizes the comprehensive health benefits of a whole grain, plant based diet.

Anita Krajnc and Mr. Clare Schlegel

Also, his driver now waves and smiles at us and the pigs in his trucks are calmer, which one can see in their composure and eyes, and also they are in better physical condition.

Mr. Schlegel’s driver waves and smiles at us Toronto Pig Savers!

Gabie with a sign she made

The violent beating & unloading of pigs at Quality Meat Packers (Aug. 6, 2011)

I was walking my dog along Lakeshore in the morning at 8 am on Saturday Aug. 6, and was surprised to see three transport trucks working on Saturday, so I walked my dog to 677 Wellington St. West where they unload the trucks at Quality Meat Packers’ pig slaughterhouse.

Before I reached the lane at 677 Wellington at the unloading area at around 8:50 am, I saw a young and friendly security guard and asked him if the screaming of the pigs bothered him and he said yes. Then I walked towards the 677 Wellington St. W. lane-way (which is owned by the City of Toronto Transport Services) and was surprised by both the volume and continuity of the screams (usually the pig screams occur once in a while and not quite that loud but in this case the screaming of the pigs was continuous and extremely loud), so I immediately went with my dog down the lane and onto the city property which gives a view of the unloading area. I saw a white, middle aged man dressed in white overalls, balding with white hair at the side, lifting his rattle paddle high in the air and with full force hitting every pig could get his hands on. I shouted at the top of my lungs “Stop it you sociopath… stop hitting the pigs!” and statements to that effect. He couldn’t even hear me for a long time – could be 10 -20 seconds… it was like he was in a trance. It was his method of unloading the entire truck.

Finally he heard me and turned around, continued for a while and then slowed down. He wasn’t remorseful at all and was argumentative but not super argumentative because I think he knew that he was caught doing was highly questionable. He threw at me the usual lines, “I’m going to eat some bacon” or something to that effect and I kept on shouting basic moral principles to him like the golden rule, that real men are kind and protect the innocent, that he violated anti-cruelty laws… He didn’t seem to care. He was driving a Schlegelhome Farm Inc. truck with the numbers at the side 192 5FF and his license plate at the back is: 873 DOE.

SchlegelFarm Inc. truck, photos by Nina Muller

Another truck driver was listening (he had just unloaded his truck after the other, violent trucker did, but his method was the polar opposite of the Schlegelhome Farm truck driver: this driver just kept shaking his rattle paddle, and the pigs rarely screamed and only did so when there was a pile up as they were trying to exit the corridors).

Other slaughterhouse workers came out to see the commotion…2 with blue hats and 1 with a white one… One of the slaughterhouse workers laughed at me and said he couldn’t hear me. The others just occasionally peaked out and looked. The young security guard said I shouldn’t be on city property but was respectful. Later QMP management came out (the plant manager first, who seemed unconcerned) and later the Human Resources manager (I believe) who listened to me regarding what happened and took down the drivers license plate numbers from me.

Clare Schlegel is a huge operator with 1,200 sows, 12 square kilometers of land, and a staff of 8 full-time employees including in trucking (so that violent truck driver was probably Clare Schlegel’s full time employee). Schlegel was President of the Canadian Pork Council in 2009 where he lobbied for favourable WTO rules for ‘hog farmers’ and previous head of the Ontario Pork Council (source: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/46935260/A-holy-calling). He is on a steering committee for “Farmers Matter” http://farmersmatter.ca/ab​out/steering-committee/ and was congregational chair of the East Zorra Mennonite Church near Tavistock and was treasurer of the national Conference of Mennonites in Canada.

– Anita Krajnc (Toronto)

Animal Protection Laws:

OSPCA has authority over issues of abuse. The Act applies to farm animals, if they are not being treated according to accepted standards – as set out in the following regulations: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/regs/english/elaws_regs_090060_e.htm The Toronto OSPCA has a “cruelty report” that can be made by a citizen:  http://www.ontariospca.ca/1.shtml The OSPCA has investigators with various powers. S. 11.2(1) provides enforcement power where animals are in distress.

There are also federal regulations which state: “It is illegal to cause undue suffering to an animal at any point in the transportation process. Practices that can help protect animals during transportation include: …” Also, if you are responsible for transporting animals, you must be familiar with and follow Canada’s animal transport requirements. If you do not comply with the regulations, you could be fined or prosecuted. If your actions or neglect are considered animal abuse, you could also be charged and convicted under the Criminal Code of Canada and/or provincial regulations. Livestock transporting requirements: http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/anima/trans/transpoe.shtml The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s (CFIA) contact info is: 1-800-442-2342

What you can do…

Write to or call:

1. The owner of Schlegel Farms

Mr. Clare Schlegel, President, (T) (519) 580-6761, E-mail: clare@sugarfield.ca

2. Quality Meat Packers (QMP) Management: president of QMP David Schwartz and the plant manager: dschwartz@qualitymeats.on.​ca and famorim@qualitymeats.on.ca

3. The local politicians as well as your politician if you live in another district: MP Olivia.Chow@parl.gc.ca  MPP Rosario Marchese at rmarchese-co@ndp.on.ca and Councillor councillor_layton@toronto.ca

Points to consider in your communications:

  • Why did this happen?
  • Why does it take a citizen to try to stop it?
  • Why didn’t QMP and the other truck driver and the security guard stop this violent truck driver? Is this kind of behaviour business as usual and if someone is violating cruelty to animals laws at the slaughterhouse, is it common practice for no one to try to stop the abuser, including all management and workers?
  • What actions are Schlegel Farms, government and QMP going to take?

* *

*

South Korea’s Live Burial of upwards of 1.5 million pigs

In South Korea upwards of 1.5 million farm animals have been killed to control an outbreak foot and mouth disease (FMD). The local animal group Korea Animal Rights Advocates (KARA) reports on the inhumane mass live burial of pigs.

Take action

These animals urgently need your help.

Compassion in World Farming, a UK group, has a form email letter you can sign. Please click to send a letter to South Korea.

The Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals has a letter directed at Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Peter Van Loan asking that they take action immediately. Please click here.

* Thanks to Lynn Kavanagh, of Pigs at Risk and the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals, for the alerts.