Seventy-seven criminal charges laid in "animal welfare disaster"

ONTARIO - In what must be considered an animal welfare disaster, involving many thousands of pigs in multiple locations across south-western Ontario, a total of seventy-seven animal cruelty charges under the Criminal Code of Canada have now been laid against seven men.
calendar icon 15 October 2003
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An Ontario SPCA investigation commenced in April this year at a pig farm in Elgin County operated by Wood Lynn Farms Limited. It quickly became apparent to investigators that not only were the conditions of both the facility and the animals of extreme concern but also that the problems could extend through multiple locations of Wood Lynn Farms Limited and associated operations in south-western Ontario.

This was indeed found to be the case, and Ontario SPCA Inspectors and Agents from right across the province were called in to deal with thousands of animals, many of which were dead or dying. The seventy-seven charges relate to five of these locations.

Ontario SPCA investigators found:

  • Heaps of dead pigs piled behind barns
  • Thousands of dead piglets in manure tanks
  • Dead piglets being eaten by rodents
  • Dead pigs throughout many of the facilities in various stages of decomposition
  • Sows giving birth amongst other pigs, resulting in piglets being trampled and eaten by adults
  • Extensive cannibalization
  • Many pigs in such poor condition that they had to be euthanized immediately
  • On arrival at one location, a Wood Lynn Farms Limited contractor attempting to kill a pig by beating it with a metal pipe
  • Generally filthy and wet conditions in many areas, and inadequate food, water and bedding.
"What the investigators found is extremely disturbing," said Lisa Veit, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario SPCA. "It appears that Wood Lynn Farms Limited was in financial difficulty, but difficult circumstances cannot excuse such treatment of animals. Those responsible must be held accountable for what must be considered an animal welfare disaster."

Those charged as a result of the investigation are:
  • James R. Long of London, Ontario;
    Ryan Long of London, Ontario;
    Kevin McHardy of Lambeth, Ontario;
    Martin Dewild of Wyoming, Ontario;
    George Kahiri of London, Ontario;
    Victor Aideyan of London, Ontario;
    John Bazilli of Waterford, Ontario.
The charges laid under the Criminal Code of Canada relate to causing unnecessary pain, causing unnecessary suffering, wilful neglect and abandoning an animal in distress. The Society has not charged the Wood Lynn Farms Limited company itself, due to it being bankrupt.

The Ontario SPCA was assisted in the investigation by Ontario Pork and by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF). The Society also employed the services of a large animal veterinarian for several weeks.

"The investigation has been a harrowing ordeal for Ontario SPCA Inspectors and Agents from all parts of the province who took part in the huge operation to care for and move the animals, working very long hours in very difficult circumstances," said Ontario SPCA Chief Inspector Mike Draper. "I would like to thank everyone involved."

Source: Ontario SPCA - 14th October 2003
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