Canadian chicken processor Maple Lodge Farms is facing 60 criminal charges from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency due to alleged violations of federal animal health regulations in the wake of thousands of chicken deaths between December 2008 and February 2009, and December 2009 and April 2010.
According to the charges, the chickens died from exposure to cold conditions during transportation from farm to slaughterhouse, often because of proximity to a truck trailer's floor or walls. Maple Lodge has emphasized that it does everything it can to ensure the humane transportation of its chickens. “We have very stringent protocols in place regarding the transportation of animals,” said company spokesperson Carol Gardin. “At the end of the day, it’s not only moral and ethical considerations regarding the humane handling of the birds, there’s a financial incentive to keep the birds in the best health.”
From January to June 2011, Maple Lodge accrued 26 administrative monetary penalties from the CFIA and paid $120,600 in fines.