Canadian poultry company Sofina Foods and a chicken catching service that contracted with Sofina have yet to enter a plea in an animal abuse case, with defense attorneys saying the court does not have sufficient video evidence of the alleged acts.
Sofina Foods, Elite Farm Services Ltd., and Dwayne Paul Dueck were charged in 2018 for allegedly unlawfully beating chickens, and loading and unloading them in a way likely to cause injury or undue suffering. Dueck is the owner of Elite Farm Services.
The alleged incident took place in the Province of British Columbia.
The present video evidence, according to Coast Mountain News, was allegedly filmed in 2017 and was allegedly provided by animal rights group Mercy for Animals. However, during a court appearance on May 13, Morgan Cramley, attorney for Sofina Foods, told the court that the available footage may not be sufficient and could possibly be misrepresented without all of the footage.
“The other hours of videotape that we suggest exist are fundamentally important to my client to be in a position to determine whether or not they can be guilty or not guilty,” Cramley said.
Martin Finch, attorney for Dueck and Elite Farm Services, agreed, saying that he was not yet at a point where he can advise his clients on how to plea.
The defense also argued that the video provided as evidence was likely filmed by an undercover worker and the circumstances under which the footage was shot could have been illegal.
The judge in the case agreed with the defense attorneys that it was too early for arraignment. The next docket date for the case will be May 27.
Headquartered in Markham, Ontario, Sofina Foods is active in the broiler and turkey industry. According to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, Sofina Foods has been actively acquiring food production facilities over the past decade. The company operates several subsidiaries involved in meat production. Those that are involved in poultry include Cuddy Food Products (chicken and turkey deli meat), Lilydale (full range of chicken and turkey products), and Janes Family Foods (further processed chicken and fish).