Egg Farmers of Ontario says videos showing mass killing of hens not COVID related

By Erick Espinosa

Egg Farmers of Ontario say videos circulating online showing thousands of lifeless birds loaded onto a conveyor belt and truck are not related to COVID staffing issues.

Last week CityNews reported on an animal advocacy group offering a reward for information on the alleged mass killings of chickens depicted in two recent TikTok videos.

In the first video, the social media user identifies himself as a truck driver sent to transport the dead birds, alleging the mass killing on the farm is related to pandemic staffing shortages at Maple Lodge Farms.

Animal Justice believes this is in reference to the confirmed reduction in staff at their Brampton slaughterhouse location, because of high rates of COVID-19 infections amongst employees.

However, Egg Farmers of Ontario tells CityNews that the videos show birds that had already been humanely euthanized in a manner that complies with government regulations before being prepared for transport to a composting facility.

“These were not broiler birds produced for the chicken market,” says Bill Mitchell, Director of Public Affairs. “These older, end-of-lay hens were not intended for human consumption and therefore did not affect the food supply.”

He went on to clarify that it was not related to COVID but rather a regular layer farm practice of humanely euthanizing hens at end-of-life through approved methods.

“What this means for hens is outlined on our web site,” says Mitchell in reference to the Animal Care Program.

According to the national program, farmers commit to fully caring for their laying hens, which are typically in production for one year.

At the end of the laying cycle, the birds are used for other purposes such as animal food products or fertilizer.

“Those that will be composted for fertilizer are also humanely euthanized on farm by trained professionals using methods approved by poultry veterinarians and according to government regulations.”

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