The age of unreason Spring 2017

    Atlantic Stockyards Limited has become a target of animal protectionist organizations. Animal Justice of British Columbia recently filed a complaint of animal abuse against the Murray Siding, Nova Scotia, company.
    Owner Sean Firth is frustrated but not lacking in resolve. Last fall when vegan members of N.S. Farm Animal Save appeared at Atlantic Stockyards with protest signs he patiently tried to educate them about how livestock auctions work. 
    But logic and reason didn’t work and he wasted his breath. “They didn’t want to learn anything. They don’t believe animals should be farmed.”
    Firth eventually “kicked them off” his property. “They’re no longer on the property and will not be again.”
    Farm Animal Save has posted several videos taken at the auction to YouTube. The short clips, shot around the building and in the sale ring, are accompanied by editorial comments about overcrowding, neglect, and the animal slave trade. They claim to witness evidence of abuse but we didn’t see any.
    The charges levelled by Animal Justice are based on a video of a cow being loaded onto a truck. They claim it was punched, jabbed, shoved, and yelled at. We didn’t see any abuse.
    Firth, who’s been involved in the agricultural industry for more than 35 years, cannot understand why anyone would think he would take part in or tolerate animal cruelty. He said the doors at Atlantic Stockyards are always open to the SPCA, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and animal protection authorities. CFIA inspectors are there on a regular basis. “‘We’re under tight regulations and inspection processes, and every single truck is inspected...”’ he told the Truro Daily News. “‘It’s not like there’s a lack of observation or oversight.”’ 
    Firth pointed out that the auction barn provides an essential service to the region’s livestock industry. The N.S. Federation of Agriculture, the N.S. Cattle Producers, and the Dairy Farmers of N.S. staunchly agree. The three organizations are “disheartened” by the complaint against Atlantic Stockyards. In a press release they explain about the Codes of Practice and the importance of the auction barn. They urge consumers to educate themselves about the food system. “Go beyond online search engines and social media – ask a farmer.”
    Firth has no doubts about the animal protectionist group’s objective. “They want to shut the business down. That’s not going to happen!”
    He is also concerned about livestock producers. “These people want to see the end of all farmed animals. If you have livestock, you’re a target.”
    Firth would like to find a resolution to the situation, “but I don’t know what it is. I don’t think there’s a middle of the road resolution.”
    So what happens when Atlantic Stockyards is cleared of the charge? Will the animal activists file another complaint or will they line up a different target?