Written by: Heather Clemenceau
“…. the actions of these activists simply aren’t safe – not only not for themselves, the truck drivers and their pigs. But also for the consumers,” writes Keith Warriner, Professor of Food Science at the University of Guelph. “The seemingly humane gesture of feeding water to pigs can actually jeopardize the system and impact the food you serve to your family.The trial taking place in Toronto has touched upon various angles of this incident. But the key issue is the interference with food safety. For anyone who eats pork, this is a product of a food processing system. And it’s absolutely essential that it’s produced in a closed system that hasn’t been tampered with.”
Dr Warriner recently chose to write a guest column that appeared in the Toronto and Winnipeg Sun papers. Instead of providing an evidence-based opinion on any one of the prevalent food-related pathways to disease and sickness in Canada, he chose to write about the “unknown liquid” that Anita Krajnc and other Toronto Pig Save activists had given to pigs on the day Dr. Krajnc was charged. It doesn’t appear that anyone believes that there were contaminants in the water the activists have given to the pigs before or since Anita’s arrest – apparently neither Fearman’s Pork nor Van Boekel Hog Farms believes this, otherwise, the animals would not have been slaughtered for food. Neither does the CFIA apparently believe the pigs were contaminated, since they issued no recall that I could find. If there was the slightest belief that the water was poisoned, the bottles would have been confiscated and the water tested. To the best of my knowledge, there was no economic loss resultant to the watering of the pigs and NO CRIME HAD BEEN COMMITTED.
The CFIA classifies recalls based on the level of health risk associated with the food product being recalled. High risk triggers include illness outbreaks, food test results, inspection findings, and consumer complaints. In 2014 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued 714 recalls, following 467 recalls in 2013 and 595 in 2012, Undeclared allergens (unlisted ingredients or product mislabeling) and microbial contaminations make up the majority of recalls, according to Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, a professor at the University of Guelph’s Food Institute.
The Red Meat Condemnation report from Agriculture Canada provides a testament to the true brutality of both the transport and slaughter operations. In 2015, 20,244,822 pigs were slaughtered, and 7.02 pigs per thousand slaughtered were found dead on arrival at the slaughterhouse. That amounts to 14,221 pigs. Almost as many pigs were condemned on ante-mortem inspection for abscesses, peritonitis, arthritis, pneumonia, septicemia, emaciation, hepatitis, bruising, hernia, fracture, and many other conditions, suggesting that perhaps more were in very poor condition upon arrival at the slaugherhouse. According to CFIA prosecution notices for that same year, no one was convicted of anything as a result.
I hope our food scientists will continue to bring attention to serious risks in the food supply, rather than trying to pick off the “low-hanging fruit” that are the protests at slaughterhouses. I would like to propose that Dr. Warriner write an article condemning the abuse of transport and the risks of veterinary drug contamination with horse slaughter in Canada. Certainly horse slaughter is not a closed system – non-farmers are dealing in drugged meat with false and incomplete EIDs, concealing incompetence and deceit, often at the highest levels. In fact, I plan to send him an email asking him to do exactly that.
Those activists who wish to expose inhumane farming practices and give water to animals enroute to slaughter are not terrorists. Dr. Warriner, I cannot respect your attempts to try and criminalize activism. Please respect the right of thoughtful citizens to express what they see as a moral outrage. Videos of activists providing water to pigs have mobilized a movement towards improving the quality of life of pigs, chickens, and cows. In the absence of the animal welfare movement, there is an obvious race to the bottom.
A look back at recent outbreaks and recalls in Canada, courtesy of @Barfblog’s contributors, including Drs. Powell, Chapman, Hubbell and assorted food safety lecturers at Barfblog.com – the unofficial internet gatekeepers on food-related illness and terrible reality cooking shows…
From toxic mothballs to blister beetles in food, there are no cautionary mentions of illness caused by the “tampering” of food by animal activists.
- Going Public: London, Ontario Salmonella Spike
- Five Star Shellfish Inc. Brand Oysters Recalled In Canada Due to Salmonella
- People Are Sick From Histamine In Blue Marlin in Canada
- Raw Is Risky: Canada Reports 1st Case This Year of Illness Linked To Eating Raw Oysters
- Health Canada Proposes Rules for Veterinary Drugs In Livestock
- Salmonella In Fresh Chili Peppers
- Frozen Berry Mix From Costco Linked To Hepatitis A Exposure
- Raw Is Risky: 4 Sick With Salmonella Linked to Raw Pet Food
- People Are Sick, But Canada Won’t Say How Many: Frozen Fruit Strikes Again
- 29 Sick, 2 Dead in Canada And US: Listeria In Dole Packaged Salads
- 18 Sickened: Court OKs $4 Million Settlement Over E.Coli Beef Recall in Canada
- Seven Ill with Listeriosis in Canada: Prepackaged Leafy Greens Investigated
- 50% of Chicken Breast Campy Positive, Irrigation Water Source of Dangerous E.Coli: FoodNet Canada 2014 Short Report
- 91 Sick With Salmonella in Canada, “Poultry Products Are Food Items of Interest”
- Quinoa Salad Source of Illness in Canada
- People Are Sick: Snap Peas Recalled in Canada Due To Cyclospora
- Salmonella Infantis; 8 Hospitalized
- Food Poisoning Sickens 80-100 Child Protection Employees in Brantford
- 31 Now Sick: Update On E.Coli 0157 Outbreak In Canada
- 81 Sick: Vibrio Outbreak Linked To Raw Oysters
- E.Coli 0157 Outbreak Sickens At Least 24 People in Canada
- 476 Sick With Cyclosporiasis in US, 87 in Canada
- Mycobacterium Marinum Cluster Linked to Handling Shrimp in Canada
- Staph Toxin in French Roquefort Cheeses Leads To Recall
- Iron Cross Blister Beetles In Imported Pre-Packaged Leafy Vegetables in Canada
- Toxic Mothballs Mixed In With Candy In 1,100 Food Bank Hampers Handed Out in Canada
- Leaked Documents Contradict CFIA Claims, As Lilydale Recall Grows
- Costco Canada’s Fish Import License Suspended By CFIA
- Herring Recalled Because of Clostridium in Canada