A new WSPA report reveals the hidden costs of industrial animal
TORONTO, April 24, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the World Society for the
Protection of Animals (WSPA) has released some alarming findings from a report commissioned to look
at the wide-ranging impacts of Canada's animal agriculture practices.
What's On Your Plate? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Animal Agriculture exposes the destructive impacts of intensive livestock operations
(ILOs) on our health, the environment, animal welfare and rural
Canada. "Intensive livestock operations or ILOs are producing drug
resistant super bugs, destroying our planet's life support system and
transforming the social fabric of our rural communities," says Melissa
Matlow, WSPA Campaigns Manager, Humane and Sustainable Agriculture.
The report also exposes the real costs of our food. We are seeing the
results of our broken system through the escalation of food safety and
public health issues. "Food-borne illnesses are costing our healthcare
system between $12 and $14 billion annually," says report contributor
Dr. Eva Pip. Animal agriculture uses more land and water than any other
human activity. "The running of ILOs also involves significant energy
consumption and greenhouse gas emissions," notes Dr. Tony Weis.
ILOs are costing Canadian taxpayers directly as well. As Darrin Qualman
points out, "Government of Canada data shows that hog ILOs couldn't
exist without huge tax-funded subsidies." Farm animals are paying a
high price too. They suffer painful mutilations, are bred to grow
faster and crammed into small cages, all to make ILOs possible. "There
is solid evidence that our industrial farming practices are causing
acute suffering for animals," concludes Dr. Ian Duncan.
Key report findings:
The huge amounts of manure from ILOs contain antibiotic residues, heavy
metals and pathogens (like E. coli). When applied to fields or illegally dumped in ditches, these toxins
end up in our drinking water and on crops. It also flows into lakes
and rivers, killing fish
Non-therapeutic use of antibiotics is causing drug resistant super bugs
to be found on ILOs in manure and in groundwater near fields - risking
the effectiveness of life-saving medicines
ILOs are causing species loss, soil erosion and lake and river pollution
Taxpayers are subsidizing the largest industrial farms. Hog farms with
annual revenues over $1million collected 72% of the subsidies in 2009.
Since 1996, Canadians have given nearly $4 billion to subsidize the hog
ILOs have caused the hollowing out of rural communities as increasing
debt, diminished quality of life and soaring unemployment mean
businesses, people and infrastructure are abandoning these areas
Painful mutilations done to farm animals (beak severing, hot branding,
teeth breaking, etc) without anesthetic would be illegal if performed
on a cat or dog and are purely surgical solutions to human-made
WSPA is calling for changes by all levels of government to policies and
practices that will safe-guard the health of Canadians, protect our
environment, revitalize rural communities and improve the lives of farm
animal across the country.
Phase out painful mutilations (de-beaking, castration, etc) performed
without anaesthetic or require anaesthetic be given
Support the Canadian Medical Association's call to require veterinary
prescriptions for all agriculture antibiotic use
Work with industry and farmers to end the worst confinement systems
(battery cages, sow stalls, veal crates, etc.)
Redirect farm subsidies to support family farmers and to encourage more
humane and sustainable farming practices
Regulate industrial livestock operations like other major polluting
Pass a new federal law requiring labelling that would identify
production methods to help Canadian consumers choose free-range, local
and antibiotic free meat, milk and eggs
JOIN US - April 24, 10:30 am for a press conference at Wychwood Barns Community Gallery (76 Wychwood Avenue, Toronto), with report contributors Dr. Ian Duncan,
Dr. Tony Winson and Dr. Tony Weis, with WSPA ambassador and Canadian
supermodel Liisa Winkler.
Some humane and sustainable breakfast snacks will be provided.
Images and some B-roll footage linked to the report are available.
About What's On Your Plate? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Animal Agriculture:
Two years in the making, What's On Your Plate? is the first comprehensive Canadian examination of the impacts of
industrial animal agriculture. The report includes contributions from
leading Canadian academics in the fields of animal husbandry,
environmental science, agricultural economics, bioethics, microbiology,
water quality and toxicology and a foreword from Dr. Thomas S.
About the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA):
The World Society for the Protection of Animals seeks to create a world
where animal welfare matters and animal cruelty has ended. Active in
more than 50 countries, we work directly with animals and with the
people and organizations that can ensure animals are treated with
respect and compassion. For more information, visit us at www.wspa.ca; follow us on Twitter or 'Like' us on Facebook.
SOURCE World Society for the Protection of Animals
For further information:
For more information and interviews please contact:
Elizabeth Sharpe, WSPA Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, 416-369-0044 x111, cell 647-268-8122
Melissa Matlow, WSPA Campaigns Manager, Humane and Sustainable Agriculture, email@example.com, 416-369-0044 x108, cell 416-712-3468