The veal industry isn’t doing enough to prevent another Pont Rouge

Crédit Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals
Crédit Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur/We Animals

Montreal, February 9th, 2017 – Despite the highly publicized Pont Rouge calf case, which sent shock waves across the country by exposing the cruel practices routinely used in the Canadian veal industry, the new and revised national Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle continues to allow many of these practices, resulting in severe suffering to calves.

In 2014, following a disturbing undercover investigation conducted by the group Mercy for Animals at a milk-fed veal farm located in Pont Rouge, Quebec, the Montreal SPCA launched an investigation into the acts of cruelty and neglect documented in the video.  The investigation resulted in Éric Dame, a former employee of the facility, being charged with, and ultimately found guilty of, subjecting animals to abuse and mistreatment. In 2016, he was sentenced to a 4,000$ fine and prohibited from owning more than five animals for a period of 15 years.

Shortly following the release of Mercy for Animals’ exposé, the National Farm Animal Care Council initiated a review of the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Veal Cattle in order to address animal welfare concerns in the veal industry. Yet the proposed modifications to the code fail to protect calves in any meaningful way by continuing to permit:

  • Calves to be housed in solitary confinement for up to 8 weeks of age even though the ability to interact with other animals is crucial to the welfare of these newborns, who have been abruptly removed from their mother and crave social contact
  • Calves to be deprived of solid food and fed an iron-deficient, anemia-inducing diet
  • Calves to be raised on barren concrete flooring without any bedding, despite the adverse effect of this on their welfare.

“The drafting of a new code of practice represents a unique opportunity for the Canadian veal industry to make meaningful improvements to calves’ welfare,” explains Sophie Gaillard, lawyer for the Animal Advocacy department of the Montreal SPCA. “Yet the new code continues to allow practices that are inherently cruel.”

The code must first go through a public comment period, which ends on February 14th, before being published in its final form.

Please, speak up on behalf of calves across the country by signing Mercy for Animalspetition urging the National Farm Animal Care Council put an end to the most egregious forms of cruelty in the veal industry.

We also encourage you to reduce your consumption of veal, or to completely eliminate it from your diet. By making this simple change, you can send the veal industry a clear and powerful message that raising calves on barren concrete floors, in solitary confinement, has no future in Canada.

To learn more about the Montreal SPCA’s position on farm animal welfare, please consult our official policies.


Media contact: Anita Kapuscinska, Communications Manager, Montreal SPCA, 514 656-2760, or anitak@spca.com.

About the Montreal SPCA Founded in Montreal in 1869, we were the first animal welfare society in Canada and our mission is to:

  • protect animals against negligence, abuse, and exploitation;
  • represent their interests and ensure their well-being;
  • raise public awareness and help develop compassion for all living beings.

For more information about the Montreal SPCA, please visit our website at www.spca.com.

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