A CFIA spokesperson said two of the 60 charges were currently at trial stage, but refused to comment further as the case is currently before the Ontario Court of Justice.
Maple Lodge Farms released a statement confirming the charges, which are based on two loads from 30 December 2008 and 23 February 2009, and re-asserted its commitment to animal welfare. The company added that safer transportation was an industry-wide issue. It said: “In the past three years, working with industry experts and in cooperation with the CFIA, Maple Lodge Farms has invested over $35m to improve transportation equipment, facilities and processes aimed at reducing stress to chickens during the transportation process.
“We rely on the good health of the birds in order to ensure the continued success of our company. To have birds perish during transportation represents a very regrettable situation from a humane perspective and an economic loss to our company, so we are committed to doing everything in our control to ensure their health and well-being,” the statement added.