For a complete listing or to find a slaughterhouse near where you live, see the listing of provincially inspected slaughterhouses in Ontario. There are close to 100 pig slaughterhouses in Ontario. The following are federally inspected pig slaughterhouses:
Fearmans Pork pig slaughterhouse (formerly Maple Leaf Pork), 821 Appleby Line, Burlington, (905) 637-2301.MLatifi@SofinaFoods.com, info@SofinaFoods.com, KevinKemp@gmail.com, Fearman’s Pork Inc.(formerly Maple Leafs Pork) is the largest pig killing facility in Ontario, slaughtering upwards of 45,000 every week and primarily servicing Toronto and the Eastern United States.
Arnold Mead Packers, 305 Arnold St., Kitchener, (519) 744-7182
Cargill cow slaughterhouse, Guelph.
Cargill chicken slaughterhouse, London
Conestoga Meat Packers, 313 Menno St., Breslau, (519) 648-2506
Sofina Foods Turkey slaughterhouse, 5921 Frank St., Mitchell, Ontario (519) 348-0099 [Note: the Ontario government offered a huge subsidy to Sofina foods, owned by multi-billionaire Micheal Latifi. See Sofina invests $30m into old site of Great Lakes Speciality Meats, Sofina invests $55m into turkey slaughterhouse, Onario invests $5 million into expanding Sofina turkey slaughterhouse plant, Maple Leaf Thamseford closes and transfers production to Sofina Mitchell)
FGO Organic Processing, 194338 19th Line, Ingersoll, (519) 425-8799
Cambridge Meat Packers, 1678 Morrison Rd., Cambridge, (519) 620-2800
Maple Leaf “Poultry”, 100 Ethel, Toronto, Tel: 416-767-5151
Ryding-Regency Meat Packers, 70 Glen Scarlett Road (Read Linda McQuaig’s Toronto Star article No more silence about the torture of animals and The Canadian Press article Beef recall expands as federal food agency investigation into Toronto slaughterhouse continues.
As of 3rd Dec 2019, Ryding Regency has been permanently shut down:
St. Helens Meat Packers, 3 Scarlett Rd Glen, Toronto, [northwest of Weston Road and St. Clair Avenue], Tel: 416-769-1788
J J Meat Distributing Inc, Plant #0154, 14600 10th Concession Toronto, (905) 859-1540
History of Quality Meat Packers Ltd.
QMP was a privately-held company founded in 1931 by Nathan Schwartz and then run by third generation David Schwartz. QMP was located southwest of King and Bathurst in Toronto’s downtown core at 2 Tecumseth St. A couple of blocks away, we held our Sunday vigils at the site where the pigs were unloaded with paddles and electric prods at 677 Wellington Street West. The Toronto slaughterhouse killed up to 6,000 pigs each day (Source: John Steele, “Meat packers in Toronto reject bosses’ ‘final offer,’ continue strike,” The Militant, Vol. 68, No. 44, Nov., 30, 2004). QMP had 600 employees and sales in the range of $275 million/year (according to Food in Canada article dated May 1999). On any given hour on Lakeshore Drive, one could see several transport trucks crammed with pigs heading towards the Tecumseth slaughterhouse via Strachan Avenue and Wellington Street West.
In its report called “Toxic Toronto,” Now Magazine (April 20-12, 2006) listed Quality Meat Packers as a major polluter of chemical pollutants into our air, land and water each year. According to the National Pollutant Release Inventory, QMP released 2.1 tons of ammonia into the air in 2009 and 0.6 tons of particulate matter (<= 10 Microns) and significant amounts historically as well. The health effects of absorption of fine particulates include bacterial infections and respiratory symptoms, aggravated asthma and cancer, with risks highest for the elderly and children.
Toronto Pig Save launched a neighbourhood campaign by holding three vigils a week. Before we started the vigils in July 20122, the key issues were smell and noise pollution, and for some concerns about the pigs welfare. A Toronto Star article “Toronto’s diverse neighbours live in harmony” by Katie Daubs (Aug. 2, 2010) interviews Ms. Karlie Cowie, who is not deaf and blind to the pig’s suffering. Karlie works on Niagara Street and says she became vegetarian after she started working in the neighbourhood:
“When you see the squealing pig trucks come in, and hear the low moan of the refrigerator trucks leaving, it’s all too real. It’s good you can see it, because it is so easy to be removed.”
However, the Toronto Star article, for the most part, trivialized the plight of pigs and the concerns of the community. The article also quotes Sheldon Garfinkle, vice president of finance at Quality Meat Packers, claiming that there are a number of vegetarians on staff at the slaughterhouse and that slaughterhouse has “a very good relationship with the Niagara Neighbourhood Association and other neighbours.” Our campaign in the neighbourhood suggested otherwise and put animal rights and the imperative of going vegan and bearing witness front and centre.
A number of accidents have occurred on the highway leaving dead and injured pigs, and sometimes dozens of pigs freely roaming the highways for a few hours. On October 4, 2010, a tractor-trailer from Woodstock carrying 241 pigs was overturned on a ramp from southbound Highway 427 to the eastbound Gardiner just before 4:30 a.m. Eighty-one pigs died, while many pigs got loose and were free for a short while, before they were corralled and sent to their bitter end at the QMP slaughterhouse. The Toronto Star reports that police charged “a 26-year-old truck driver from Norwich… with careless driving.” Click here for photos and video.
On rare, special occasions, animal rescuers are able to rescue one or more of the escaped pigs, as was the case for Wilbur in another transport-trailer accident. Twyla writes, “On a cold, wet winter night in Manitoba a transport trailer carrying pigs crashed, spilling several pigs onto a busy highway. Some were hit by oncoming cars and later shot by police officers. Wilbur was whisked away from the scene.” Watch Wilbur’s story on YouTube.
Vigils are always traumatic. I see no difference that matters between a dog or a pig. If you imagine how you would feel bearing witness to a truck full of dogs arriving for slaughter, often dehydrated, always terrified, you might have an understanding of how difficult I and other activists find vigils.
For full account of the Fearmans rollover see: Is this something you want to support
Pigs are forced into CO2 gas chambers
Fearmans Pork and Conestoga slaughterhouses in Ontario use carbon dioxide (CO2) gas chambers to “stun” the pigs. The pigs are put in a gondola, sort of like a ferris wheel, and lowered into the poison gas to be stunned. Next they are hung upside down on one leg and bled with “hollow knives” and sent to the scalding tank to remove their hair. Though the pigs are supposed to be unconscious at the bleeding and scalding tank steps, this is not always the case! Once the pigs start blinking around 1.5 minutes after being stunned they are fully conscious, thus some of them may be going through this horrific process fully conscious.
This footage was taken by Animal Liberation Victoria activists in Australia and shows the extreme suffering pigs endure:
On observing the effects of CO2 gas chambers, Twyla Francois: “The pigs stretched their necks and attempted to break out of the reinforced steel elevator car to get at the oxygen that was above them. They screamed for a full 18 seconds.” She has taken photos of the pigs after the pigs emerged from the gas chamber.
Workers’ rights and whistle-blowers
Toronto Pig Save is a love based organization that offers compassion to the workers in the slaughter industry as well as to the animal victims. This approach has been developed by Gail Eisnitz, author of Slaughterhouse, who interviewed dozens of slaughterhouse workers and USDA inspectors. She says, “Likewise, if animals are being dragged, beaten, strangled, skinned, scalded, and dismembered all while fully conscious, whether there’s a law or not, something has to be done. And it’s the same with the workers. They were being physically and emotionally destroyed, chewed up and spit out, wrecked for life. Something has to be done.” (Q&A with Gail Eisnitz)
The United Food and Commercial Workers union represents slaughterhouse workers at major killing facilities in Canada. The union addresses working conditions and worker rights. There needs to be a Just Transition strategy for workers to move from work in the animal exploitation industry to ethical, environmentally sound, and healthy alternatives. We need #FoodSystemChangeNow towards vegan, organic, and local food production.
American Dream is a film we recommend. It deals with the relationship between the exploitation of workers and the abuse of animals by large corporations which emphasize profit above all else.
Mother Jones magazine did an expose called The Spam Factory’s Dirty Secret, covering the workplace injuries slaughterhouse workers typically suffer from including muscular disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome which results in a loss of sensation and fine motor function. At the pig “head table” workers use mechanized jaw-pullers, circular saws, and pressurized air to cut, chisel or blow out every part of pigs’ heads, including brains. Brain machine operators suffer the worst health effects, such as spinal inflammation.”Schindler found that Garcia and another brain-machine operator were the most advanced cases. Besides Garcia and the six workers referred by Bower, Schindler had seen another five men and women with similar symptoms—all workers at QPP. Schindler believed they were suffering from something like the rare disorder Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)—death of the peripheral nerves caused by damage to the fatty neural covering known as the myelin sheath.” Pig brains had triggered an autoimmune disorder because of the similarity between human and pig cells. One worker suffered “burning in his feet, his knees clicked when he walked, and his bowel and bladder problems persisted… a “suspicious spot” [was found] on a nerve at the base of Garcia’s brain and would eventually diagnose it as a nerve-sheath tumor…. Garcia had quit sweating in his extremities, a clear indication of nerve death—permanent damage.”
The account below shows how similar pigs and humans are, yet we treat them appallingly without any compassion as though they were objects, and not persons: “SIX MONTHS EARLIER, when Matthew Garcia was sent back to the Mayo Clinic neurology department, Dr. P. James Dyck explained to him that there was an “epidemic of neuropathy” that was affecting QPP workers—a newly discovered form of demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy. Inhaling aerosolized brains had caused his body to produce antibodies, but because porcine and human neurological cells are so similar, the antibodies began destroying Garcia’s own nerves, as well.”
In “Inside Tyson’s Hell: Why I Got Out of the Chicken Slaughtering Business“, Virgil Butler tells the story of being a slaughterhouse worker at a chicken slaughterhouse and blowing the whistle on the treatment of animals and workers. He acted after he showed his wife where he worked and felt embarrassed about his job for the first time. Laura had earlier volunteered at an animal shelter. Virgil says she had “a natural desire to act when she sees something wrong.” Compassion over killing talks with Virgil Butler in In Memorial of Virgil Butler. See also PETA’s article on Virgil.
Global climate chaos is one of the greatest challenges we face. What can you do? You can help reduce global warming by taking public transit, not flying airplanes as Greta has done, or drive more fuel-efficient cars and use energy-saving light bulbs. This helps, but is not sufficient. Transportation accounts for less overall greenhouse gas emissions than the animal agriculture sector. On an individual level, going vegan is one of the most effective ways to fight climate chaos. We all need #FoodSystemChangeNow and to shift subsidies from animal agriculture to a plant based food systems.
A 2006 UN report found that the meat and dairy industries are responsible for about 1/5 of global greenhouse gas emissions. Going Vegan is one of the most effective things you can do to fight climate change. According to the Oxford study Environmental cost of food, vegan or plant-based diets reduce food’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 73% depending where you live. A vegan diet uses 2/3 less water compared to a meat-based diet.
Animal-based foods require far more land, water and energy to produce than fruits and vegetables, and create far more harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Processed plant-based meats such Beyond Meat also require far fewer resources and create far fewer emissions.