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.
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.
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."
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'.
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.
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.
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."
Emily Court is a passionate ethical vegan from Eastern Canada. She is a Challenge 22 Mentor, Digital Writer, and experienced animal advocate driven by issues of animal liberation and social justice. She studied at Dalhousie University, where her thesis highlighted intercultural and gender relations. She is an established public speaker, writer, and world traveller with a drive to provide a voice to those who might not otherwise have one. You can follow her on Instagram @emily.j.court or on Twitter @_EmilyJCourt_.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are prepared in the author's capacity and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Plant Based News itself.
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