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Sue Manns is a CETFA volunteer inspector who has witnessed and documented animal abuse in countless factory farms and livestock auctions. Sue’s photos and footage have been extensively used for education as well as various campaigns, such as the campaign to urge Tim Hortons to phase out the use of cruel, confining gestation crates in its pork supply chain. Today, we interview Sue on her involvement with CETFA, and her advocacy for farmed animals.
CETFA: Most of us grow up thinking of farmed animals as commodities. What changed your view of farmed animals and convinced you to begin advocating for them?
Sue: As a child, I inherently knew that eating meat was wrong. As an adult, it was seeing some graphic photos of farmed animal abuse that made me realize the horror of their suffering. It was at that time that I made a conscious decision to stop consuming all animal products and to begin advocating for them.
CETFA: You have seen many factory farms and visited many auctions. What has been the most difficult experience for you?
Sue: While I have seen some very disturbing sights in my visits, the most difficult one for me was having to stand by and watch one particular piglet trapped in a sorting machine. I don’t know how he got trapped in this device but he was totally immobilized and incapacitated. I tried to help him without success. He was so wedged in between the metal bars that I could do nothing for him. As I was trying to release him, his eyes never left my face. I returned later that day to try to release him again, but sadly, he had already died. The fact that I couldn’t help him haunts me to this day.
CETFA: Is there one animal in particular whom you have rescued, or whom you couldn’t help, you most remember?
Sue: Justice, another factory farmed piglet, who was rescued and brought to Teja’s. (Click here to read the story of Justice)
CETFA: In addition to your field work with CETFA, you also volunteer at Teja’s Animal Refuge. Can you tell us more about Teja’s?
Sue: Teja’s is a wonderful little sanctuary nestled in the countryside of Alexandria, Ontario. It was founded and operated by Nicole Joncas who has been rescuing and coming to the aid of animals for the past thirty years. This is a place where abandoned, neglected and abused farm animals have found a forever loving home. I will try to describe my feelings when I visit this little bit of heaven on earth. There is nothing quite like getting up early before anyone else and being the human to open the barn door and watch everyone spill out of the barns into the sunshine. They all have their particular favourite spot and in their hurry to get to their favourite spot, they are all happily chattering amongst themselves. I feel so privileged to witness this much joy.
CETFA: What can people do if they want to support Teja’s?
Sue: Teja’s is always in need of funding for vet bills, feed, repairs and maintenance to the barns and fencing. At this time, they could also use the services of a good web designer. If anyone reading this would like to help out with any of the above, you may visit Teja’s FaceBook page or contact Nicole at tejasanimalrefuge (-replace-) sympatico.ca. You can also find them at tejasanimalrefuge.ca.
Note from CETFA: Sue is organizing a fundraising event for Teja’s Animal Refuge on February 17. To learn more about the event, visit the Facebook page here.
CETFA: Do you have any advice for people who want to make a difference for farmed animals?
Sue: The first and most important bit of advice I would offer, would be to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Educate yourself to the horrors of factory farming by watching documentaries, such as ‘Earthlings’ or ‘Farm to Fridge’ or any number of others. Volunteer or visit a sanctuary to get to know these amazing animals. Choose a form of activism that you are comfortable with, whether it is educational outreach or rescuing. It is all important and makes a difference in the lives of animals. I personally talk about veganism to someone every single day.
Justice was a domestic pig born in a massive sow operation to a mother trapped within a steel and concrete “gestation crate” (actual barn pictured below).
After just 2-3 weeks with his mother, Justice was moved to a grow-out facility (pictured below). There he lived in an overcrowded, filthy shed infested with mice and flies until CETFA investigators discovered him.
What follows is the account of the 2 CETFA investigators who found and rescued Justice – Sue Manns and Nicole Joncas.
On a routine visit of what became a 7 month investigation at a large Ontario pig operation, I discovered a pig who was lying down and seemed unable to rise. He appeared thin and his left-side rear and front legs had what appeared to be extremely large abscesses on them. It was clear he was in severe pain and urgently needed help.
I quickly returned with Nicole Joncas, founder of Teja’s Animal Refuge, and 2 others willing to help load the suffering pig. We decided to name him Justice.
Justice remained in the same spot as when I’d left. From earlier visits I knew that if left, Justice would soon die like the others who languished in pain for days before they died. He’d also likely be scavenged upon by the other overcrowded and stimulation-deprived pigs (just as the poor pig in the pen next to Justice was while we were removing him).
We managed to move Justice out of that horrible, filthy barn into a van where he was given fresh fruit and vegetables, which he ate for the first time in his life.
Back at Teja’s, Justice was given a soft blanket, fresh water and grain and was examined. We now saw that the growths on his limbs and feet were oozing pus.
When the veterinarian saw Justice, he immediately knew he was a factory farm pig from his condition. The vet stated that Justice was in enormous pain and that the best we could do for him was to put an end to his suffering. We made the difficult decision to euthanize Justice.
Justice’s life was one filled with pain and misery, but at least he didn’t have to die in that horrible barn. He died with dignity, without being trampled to death or eaten, and he had a taste of fresh fruit, a warm bed, and kindness – something some 21 million other pigs in Canada will never experience.
No animal should have to live as Justice did. Don’t be a part of the cruelty. Take a stand for pigs like Justice and boycott pork.
A new CETFA investigation reveals the truth about Ontario’s pig industry. In 2011 and 2012, CETFA investigators returned to the same Ontario pig barn for 7 months and documented a shocking pattern of cruelty and neglect.
Footage taken at the pig barn reveals:
The findings of CETFA’s newest investigation are consistent with those documented at pig farms across Canada in recent years – illustrating that animal abuse and neglect are the pork industry norm, not the exception.
As consumers, we can choose compassion over cruelty at every meal. Adopting a compassionate, meat-free diet is the most powerful action we can take to put an end to needless animal suffering and the conditions documented during this investigation.