Brampton, Ont. – Maple Lodge Farms, Canada’s largest independent chicken processor, has been charged with 60 criminal violations of the federal animal health regulations by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
The CFIA alleges that Maple Lodge Farms allowed thousands of broiler chickens and spent hens to die from exposure to cold conditions during transportation from the farm to the slaughterhouse.
The incidents in question took place between December 2008 and February 2009, and between December 2009 and April 2010. In the first case, 711 broiler chickens out of a shipment of 10,000 were found dead on arrival at the slaughterhouse; in the latter case 1,181 hens out of a shipment of 11,000 were found dead on arrival.
According to a report in the Toronto Star, a Maple Lodge spokesperson said that while the deaths were unfortunate, the company does all it can to ensure its poultry is transported humanely.
The CFIA’s usual enforcement measures for transportation violations are an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) of up to $15,000. CFIA files show that between January and June last year, Maple Lodge accrued 26 AMPs and paid $120,600 in fines.