Press Release May 2, 2021

Toronto  Pig  Save calls on Halton Public Health and Burlington’s Mayor Marianne Meed Ward to immediately close Fearmans pig slaughterhouse as Covid-19 rips through the killing facility

Media contacts:
Anita Krajnc • 416-825-6080 • 

Demands: Close down Sofina Foods owned Fearmans slaughterhouse

CHCH News reported on April 28 that staff and a union representative at Sofina Foods owned Fearmans said the facility should be shut down following an outbreak of COVID-19 which is ripping its way through the facility.

Fearmans staff describe the situation as “pure chaos” and there are believed to be 47 active cases and 100 staff isolating at home.

Toronto Pig Save called for the closure of the slaughterhouse in January after the City of Toronto released a report condemning the company for posing a significant risk to public health. In January we warned: “Dozens of COVID-19 cases have been linked to Sofina Foods-owned Fearmans slaughterhouse in Burlington, raising questions for many as to why the business is continuing to operate during the lockdown while elsewhere in Canada and worldwide similar facilities are shut down to slow infections.” “Their failure to act then and yet again now is endangering the lives of their staff, their families, and the public at large,” says Anita Krajnc. “The killing of 10,000 pigs a day and the consumption of pig remains is not essential. What is essential is not frivolously endangering marginalized populations forced into unsafe workspaces and overloading hospitals and ICUs.”

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward says she is watching the situation and that staff shouldn’t feel the need to come to work if they feel unwell, however we are calling on her to take decisive action and order the closure of the facility supporting calls by both staff and union rep Tim Deelstra, UFCW Local 175 & 633.

COVID-19: enhanced public health and workplace safety measures states that open businesses must prepare and make available a covid 19 safety plan. Toronto Pig Save has requested a copy of the plan, which must be made available to any person for review upon request.


The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting in the US states that as of April 2021, there have been “at least 50,000 reported positive cases tied to meat and poultry processing facilities from at least 498 outbreaks in 38 states, and at least 248 reported worker deaths in at least 65 plants in 28 states.” 

In 2020 the UN published a report looking at our relation to zoonotic disease.[1] Our increasing proximity to free living animals is the most common source, but farmed animals are not only original sources, but transmissional sources or bridging hosts, carrying the infection from the wild to humans. According to biologist Nathan Wolfe, “the vast majority of animals involved in historic zoonotic events or current zoonosis are domestic (livestock, domesticated wildlife and pets), which is logical as the contact rates are high.”

Major outbreaks including Bovine TB, Q fever, BSE, H5N1& H7N7 bird flu, Nipah virus, SARS, H1N1 swine flu, and Mers are all linked to industrial farming. As humans diminish biodiversity by cutting down forests, we are increasing the risk of pandemics such as COVID-19. This usually results in a few species replacing many — and these species tend to be the ones hosting pathogens that can spread to humans.

Animal Save Movement started in 2010 and has since grown to over 1000 chapters worldwide. Activists gather at slaughterhouses and other places to provide comfort, bear witness, and document stories of farmed animals in pursuit of animal rights.2


1. United Nations, Preventing the next pandemic – Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission, July 2020

2. National Library of Medicine, Pathogens spillover during land conversion, April 2018