B.C. SPCA won't recommend charges against Abbotsford pig farm
SPCA says video footage can't be verified because person who shot it never came forward
The B.C. SPCA will not be pursuing criminal charges against an Abbotsford pig farm because it cannot verify "troubling" video footage released from an animal rights organization.
The video released by PETA last month appeared to show female pigs and piglets living in confined gestation crates alongside bodies of some deceased and decomposing pigs.
It was alleged to have been shot at Excelsior Hog Farm.
Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer at the B.C. SPCA said at the time the footage was "troubling." The B.C. SPCA said it would investigate the farm as well as the validity of the video.
On Wednesday, B.C. SPCA spokesperson Lorie Chortyk said whoever shot the video had not come forward to provide a statement.
"This evidence is essential to the case as without it there is not sufficient legal evidence to support recommending any type of charge of distress," Chortyk said in an email.
Before a charge could be considered, Chortyk said Crown counsel would need to ensure the "integrity" of the video, including the location where it was taken.
A veterinarian would then view the footage to determine whether it meets the definition of "distress."
Simply having a video clip is not enough to build a case for recommendation of charges.- Lorie Chortyk
"Simply having a video clip is not enough to build a case for recommendation of charges," Chortyk said.
Excelsior Hog Farm is partially owned by Ray Binnendyk, who is on the board of directors of the B.C. Pork Producers Association.
CBC has reached out to the association for comment on the decision but has not heard back.
Last month, dozens of activists entered the farm days after the video was released. They were escorted out by police several hours later.
At the farm, Ray Binnendyk, one of the brothers who operates Excelsior, told CBC News the PETA video was shot in secret by someone trespassing at night and he believes some of the images were staged.
"Some of those pictures could not have even been from our farm. We are not sure," he said.
"I find it's very hard when someone puts out information that's incorrect about how we do things here as a family farm."