Maple Lodge responds to animal cruelty claims

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BRAMPTON, Ontario – Maple Lodge Farms, one of Canada's largest chicken producers, relays it has "taken immediate steps" to investigate alleged abuse and neglect of birds at its slaughter plant after Mercy for Animals Canada released a video that appears to contain instances of animal mistreatment, reports CBC News Toronto.

The animal-activist group claims it had obtained hidden-camera footage from inside the processor’s Brampton, Ont., plant. Specific claims include Maple Lodge Farms allowing some birds to die due to exposure to the cold while being transported to the plant. The group also claims the company permitted other birds to unnecessarily suffer due to incorrect handling before being slaughtered.

Michael Burrows, CEO of Maple Lodge Farms, posted a video message on the company's website after these charges went public saying the company is looking into the allegations and that the company has a zero-tolerance policy for violating animal-welfare policies. Disciplinary actions, including terminating employees, are possible, he added.

This video was released one year after an Ontario court found Maple Lodge Farms guilty of violating the Health of Animals Act in failing to provide humane treatment for poultry. Mercy for Animals is basing its allegations on footage depicted in a video the group claims was shot in the months after the court decision was handed down last March. The group claimed the video was shot by an employee of the plant.
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