News in a Flash

Holiday 2013

Maple Lodge Farms guilty of criminal charges

Maple Lodge Farms, one of Canada’s largest poultry processors, has been found guilty on both criminal charges recently tried involving violations under Canada’s Health of Animals Act. The charges are two of a total of 60 laid by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The two convictions are the result of high numbers of broiler chickens and spent laying hens freezing and suffocating to death during transport to Maple Lodge Farms’ processing plant in Norval, Ontario (near Brampton). The verdict, which comes after more than two years of hearings, was delivered September 27th, 2013 by an Ontario Superior Court judge in Brampton.
Maple Lodge has been fined many times by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for transport infractions and high dead-on-arrival (DOA) spent hens and broiler (meat) chickens. Typically, CFIA issues administrative monetary penalties (AMPs) for such offences. However, in an industry that considers DOAs part of doing business, Maple Lodge has been one of the worst offenders.
The case raises serious questions about the ability to transport chickens humanely. Currently, while there is both federal legislation and an industry-driven Code of Practice governing poultry handling and transport, the high numbers of DOA birds are at levels that would be unacceptable for other farm animals. The birds are often injured in the catching and loading process, and once on the trucks, are stacked in crates many rows deep and high, making it impossible to access them until they’re unloaded at the other end. In cold weather, when the trucks are often wrapped in tarps, birds on the outside can freeze while those on the inside can suffocate or overheat.

In the case of Maple Lodge Farms, Justice N. S. Kastner focused on two "sample" charges. One involved a truckload of broiler chickens shipped from Clifford, Ontario (northwest of Toronto) to the company's Brampton processing plant on December 31st, 2008, and the other, a truckload of spent hens shipped from Gray Ridge Farms in Moorefield, Ontario (also northwest of Toronto) on February 23rd, 2009.

Learn more about the case 

Going Beyond Eggs

It combines 12 plants. It’s almost 20% cheaper. And it’s 100% animal-free. The aptly named "Beyond Eggs" is a recently-developed plant-based egg replacement that tastes and behaves like the real thing, but is a whole lot kinder.
Backed financially by Microsoft’s Bill Gates and PayPal founder Peter Thiel, the product is attracting a lot of attention both in and outside the food industry.
“We want to take animals out of the equation,” says company head Josh Tetrick. “The food industry is begging for innovation, especially where animals are involved. It’s a broken industry.”
We wholeheartedly agree. The fact that it’s also cholesterol-free is a bonus! 

Sold in powder form, its availability is still limited. Whole Foods stores in California carry it, and we've inquired about its arrival at WF in Canada. We'll keep you posted!

Learn more about how Beyond Eggs are made here.

Pigs need straw for mental health

A Danish study on how pigs behave with and without straw reinforces the importance of straw in their behavioural health. With the attention often paid to sow stalls and housing, the issue of straw is often overlooked in North America. In Europe, however, it is generally given more priority and is being mandated by some EU member states.
In the study, conducted at Aarhus University in Denmark, pigs were given differing amounts of straw and their behaviour was then monitored. Researchers found that the ideal provision was 400g per day.
They noted that, “…the pigs in an intensive production situation with free access to feed still need access to manipulable materials (rooting and enrichment materials) that can fulfill this motivation."

"If the animals are short of stimuli,  they can redirect their normal exploratory behaviour towards the other pigs in the pen, and especially against their ears and tails.”
Please keep this in mind when advocating for pigs, and urge producers to provide straw as part of a basic welfare needs.
Read more about the study here.

James' foray into Forbes

James McWilliamsYou may have read his blog. Or one of his books. Or one of many articles he’s written pondering everything from horse meat to sustainability. In any event, if you've read Texas State University professor and prolific writer James McWilliams, you know he makes a strong case for eating plants, and he pulls no punches.
He now has a new forum: a regular column on And in his usual introspective, eloquent way, he’s opening up for debate an array of issues on animal agriculture.  
For a look at a recent Forbes post on dairy farming, click here. You can read and follow his blog here.


CCFA is coming to a mail box near you! It's our annual holiday fundraising campaign, and our appeal this year will focus on transport, with a particular emphasis on chickens. The Maple Lodge case underscores the urgent need to improve transport conditions for chickens — and for all farm animals.

Keep an eye out for us!


Oh She Glows gravy
She's stunningly gorgeous. She's Canadian. And she cooks vegan like nobody's business. She's Angela Liddon, the woman behind the blog Oh She Glows, and when we went looking for a go-to gravy recipe for the holidays, her blog was our first and last stop. She adapted this from Eat, Drink & Be Vegan. So... pile on the mashed and go for it. 
1 cup vegetable broth
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp tamari
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 tbsp tahini
1.5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1.5 tbsp blackstrap molasses
½ ts
p agave nectar
2 tbsp olive oil
In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and puree until smooth. In a pot on medium to high heat, add mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and stir frequently to thicken. Remove from heat and serve. Add additional agave, water, or vinegar if needed to adjust taste.
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