Glad to kiss meat goodbye

As a recent convert to a vegan diet, I am aware that December is not a happy month in the lives of food animals such as pigs, poultry, and especially turkeys.  

There is very little in the news about factory farming, and even vigils held by Okanagan Animal Save at slaughterhouses have received little media attention.

However, there is good information on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada website. One report which drew my interested was "Poultry Condemnation Report by Species for Federally Inspected Plants." 

The word "condemned" appears to apply to birds deemed unsuitable for human consumption.  The reasons range from arriving dead at the slaughterhouse to a number of other injuries or illnesses. One can only hope that government inspectors can identify carcasses unsuitable for humans on fast-moving slaughterhouse assembly lines.

The 2018 statistics for chickens is encouraging from an animal welfare point of view. In 2018, nearly 652 million chickens were slaughtered, some 36 million fewer than were slaughtered in 2017.   

In Ontario, Maple Leaf Foods is closing its poultry plants in Brampton, St. Marys and Toronto and is rebuilding a world-class, high-tech poultry operation in London, Ont. The new facility will need fewer employees, and yet the federal and Ontario governments will invest $60 million in this venture. 

Meanwhile, I am heartened by the fact many food companies are continuing to produce nutritious plant-based foods for the growing number of people who have abandoned animal-derived products either for their health, for animal welfare, or the environment. 

A by-product of factory farms - feces and urine - has been known to contaminate water supplies.

Helen Schiele, Kelowna

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