Animal rights activists occupy turkey barn to protest treatment
The RCMP are considering whether or not to press charges after an incident Monday morning where several dozen activists staged a sit-in at a turkey farm near Fort Macleod to protest what they said was inhumane treatment.
Some protested outside the turkey barn, while others locked themselves inside.
“We want farmers and the food inspection agency to start doing investigations, to start exposing the reality of what’s going on in Canadian farms,” said one unidentified protestor.
The farm’s owner, Mark Tschetter, disputed the suggestion that he didn’t treat his turkeys properly.
“These turkeys have fresh water,” he said, in an interview with CTV’s Terry Vogt. “They can walk outside for fresh air, and they have fresh feed every day.
“I don’t know what more they would want.”
Tschetter said Jumbo Valley Colony follows the standards set by the Alberta Turkey Producers Association.
“We take good care of these birds, because it’s our livelihood, and we want people to know that,” he added.
Late Monday afternoon, Dan Kolb, the communications rep for the SPCA emailed CTV with a statement.
“We are unable to check our database today to see if we have received a recent complaint about turkey farms in southern Alberta,” it said.
“That said, we encourage anyone who has a belief that animals are in distress to call our Animal Protection Line at 1-800-455-9003.
“We require recent information from an eyewitness in order open an investigation. Social media posts or video posted online without corroborating information from a witnesses does not give us reasonable and probable grounds to go onto private property to investigate the circumstances of the animals.”
The protestors agreed to end their sit-in on three demands: that the media be allowed to film inside the turkey pens, that some turkeys were set free (five were handed over to a sanctuary), and that no criminal charges be filed against them.
An RCMP officer said that the decision whether or not to file charges is expected later this week.