Controversy As Canada Invests $4.3 Million In Prisoner-Staffed Animal Agriculture

One animal advocacy group is appealing to inmates for their help
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The prison farms were shut down by the previous government

The prison farms were shut down by the previous government

The
Canadian Government plans to invest $4.3 million to bring prison farms back to
Kingston, Ontario in a controversial move opposed by many activists.

Prisoner
and animal advocacy group Evolve Our Prison Farms [EOPF] is in an ongoing
battle against the reinstallation of the establishments, which were shut down
in 2010 while Prime Minister Stephen Harper was still in office.

'No slaughter'

According
to EOPF, prisoners were asked their opinions on the reintroduction of animal
agriculture in a poll administered to Inmate Committees across the country.

Of the
respondents, 72 percent reportedly said they'd prefer to work with plants or at
an animal sanctuary, while many of the others specified 'no slaughter' on the
forms - a job which has fallen to inmates in the past.

Moving
forward

The federal Government is set to move forward with the plans regardless of the
inmates' opposition.

In a letter
to Canada's Inmate Committees, EOPF’s Calvin Neufeld wrote: "Despite our
two-year effort campaigning for plant-based agriculture and sanctuary, we
regret to report that we have failed."

'Training
opportunities'

The first
portion of the $4.3 million will reportedly be allocated to a goat milk farm at
Joyceville Institution in Kingston, Ontario - a move justified by claims that
it will benefit the inmates.

The Government's
budget says the aim is
'to provide federal inmates with training opportunities
to acquire new skills, while preparing for employment and successful
reintegration and rehabilitation into the community'.

EOPF expects a goat farm at Joyceville Institution

EOPF expects a goat farm at Joyceville Institution

Expected working
conditions

However, according
to the EOPF Letter, the organization expects the conditions will be less than
ideal for both the goats and the inmates based on past practices.

It reads: "As
part of this ‘rehabilitation’ program, prisoners will inseminate goats, remove
newborn kids in order to machine-milk their mothers (most males are slaughtered
in infancy), and finally prisoners will slaughter and butcher the goats, along
with animals from hundreds of local farms."

EOPF
expects the milk of the first 400 goats brought in by the program will be used
to produce infant formula for the company Feihe, the bulk of which would allegedly
be exported to China.

Chickens,
cows, and hens

At Kingston's
Collins Bay Penitentiary, Canadian news organization CBC
reports that - once funding becomes available in April - farming of chickens,
cows, hens, and potentially bees will begin.

Appeal to
prisoners

EOPF has
made an appeal to the inmates at both penitentiaries and, according to the
letter, planned to protest a Collins Bay Penitentiary on March 28.

The plea
read:
"We are appealing to prisoners to oppose this
shameful decision through non-cooperation. You
deserve better, the animals deserve better, society deserves better. Together,
we can and will demand better. Refuse to participate in the prison farm program until
it’s a program that doesn’t exploit anybody."