Multiple charges laid against Wood Lynn Farms

CANADA - Consumer confidence could be shaken, says Ontario Pork chairman Larry Skinner, after the OSPCA laid charges against seven men for "causing unnecessary pain, causing unnecessary suffering, wilful neglect and abandoning an animal in distress"
calendar icon 17 November 2003
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Take me to the ARSP website. Months of rumours came to an end last month when the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) announced it laid dozens of charges against seven men connected to bankrupt Wood Lynn Farms Ltd.

Even though Ontario Pork chairman Larry Skinner says this is an isolated incident, he concedes that Wood Lynn's relatively high profile and the number of farms involved "has given the industry a bit of a black eye." He predicts that consumer confidence in the Ontario pork industry could be shaken as it was after the highly publicized allegations of unsafe practices at Aylmer Meats. "Pork producers don't condone cruelty to animals," Skinner emphasizes.

In all, 77 criminal charges were laid against James R. Long and Ryan Long, both of London, Kevin McHardy of Lambeth, Martin Dewild of Wyoming, George Kahiri and Victor Aideyan of London, and John Bazilli of Waterford. The OSPCA said charges involved "thousands of animals dead and dying," and related to "causing unnecessary pain, causing unnecessary suffering, wilful neglect and abandoning an animal in distress."

Michael Draper, chief inspector at the OSPCA in Newmarket, described James Long as the president of Wood Lynn Farms and Ryan Long as "supervising all the farms."

Draper said McHardy and Dewild were "managing barns" while Kahiri and Aideyan "operated another barn on the Wood Lynn property under a different corporate number." John Bazilli of Waterford was a contractor who had Wood Lynn Farm hogs on his property, as well as his own, Draper says.

Draper says that when an OSPCA agent visited John Bazilli's farm following an allegation about an injured sow, "he (Bazilli) made an utterance to the inspector that he had tried killing (the sow) with a metal pipe. We brought a veterinarian in and euthanized it, along with another sow with similar injuries."

The specific charge is "unnecessary suffering," Draper says. "There are appropriate euthanasia methods... Smacking a full-grown sow over the head with a metal pipe isn't one of them."

Bazilli denies the allegations. "I run an independent operation," he says. "I have never had any involvement with them (Wood Lynn). I don't know anything about this."

Kahiri says Wood Lynn Farms was his landlord. "None of these things happened on our farm. Humane Society officials came a couple of times. I haven't received any judge's papers from them."

Better Farming was unable to contact the other persons charged before deadline. However, Kevin McHardy's father, Dave McHardy, says Kevin happened to be working at the barn in Dutton when the SPCA came in.

"He's feeling pretty bitter about this. He should never be in this position. There were four or five other people around him doing similar to him and they quit. He waited until the very end and got charged.

Wood Lynn Farms, which claims to be Canada's largest seedstock producer with its Baconmaker Genetics, is in bankruptcy. Its president, James Long, is a well-known pork commentator on the website.

On Oct 13, the day before the OSPCA announcement, Long's space on heralded the formation of Genesus, an alliance between Baconmaker Genetics and Keystone Pig Advancement company, and claimed the new company will be the largest genetic company affiliated with the Canadian Centre for Swine Improvement (CCSI), the official genetic research and development entity in Canada.

Genesus president Pat O'Meara, based in Oakville, Man., once marketed swine breeding stock for several large farms in Ontario. He says Long told him about the OSPCA investigation before Genesus was unveiled. O'Meara cautions that there are two sides to the story.

Source: Don Stoneman & Robert Irwin - Atlantic Swine Research Partnership - 17th November 2003
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