There are 20 times more farm animals than people in Canada but a drive through the countryside doesn't give you that impression.
Most Canadian farm animals spend their lives crammed into tiny pens, battery cages or crates inside windowless barns. They are fed unnatural diets, antibiotics and suffer painful mutilations like de-beaking and tooth breaking so they can be kept at huge numbers on intensive livestock operations (ILOs).
WSPA has released a new report, What's on Your Plate? The Hidden Costs of Industrial Animal Agriculture in Canada that exposes the destructive impacts of ILOs on our health, the environment, animal welfare and rural Canada.
ILOs are producing drug resistant super bugs, destroying our planet's life support system and transforming the social fabric of our rural communities. We are reaching a crisis point and we need your help.
Our current food system causes severe animal suffering. Animals on an ILO are confined to very small spaces and are unable to move or engage in normal animal behaviour. Cramped, bored and frustrated, farm animals can behave aggressively, which has led to unnecessary mutilations like beak severing for hens, horn gouging for cows and tail cutting for pigs.
We are already seeing the negative impacts of our broken food system through the escalation of food safety and public health issues (including food-borne illnesses and the contamination of drinking water with E. coli). The crowded and stressful conditions farm animals are raised in encourages the spread of disease and the overuse of antibiotics.
Animal agriculture is responsible for some of the most significant environmental problems facing our planet — it contributes large amounts of greenhouse gases, uses more land and more water and is the greatest threat to biodiversity than any other human activity. It creates huge amounts of manure that can contaminate our soil and can cause lake and river pollution.
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. Canadian tax payers are subsidizing the largest industrial farms.