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Canadian seafood giant won’t be disciplined after animal cruelty investigation

In October, the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing released a gruesome video that showed fish stomped on, bashed against solid objects and tossed for long distances by the tail.

PAUL WITHERS: ‘Canadian aquaculture giant Cooke Seafood will not be sanctioned following an animal cruelty investigation into its Atlantic salmon hatchery in Bingham, Maine. The Maine Department of Agriculture’s animal welfare division said the New Brunswick-based company addressed unsavoury practices revealed in a hidden-camera exposé carried out by an activist group…

“Cooke Aquaculture did take responsibility for what happened and has taken appropriate action to improve training and operations,” wrote Liam Hughes, director of Maine’s animal welfare program. “At this point, except for another follow-up during the winter, I will be closing this complaint,” he said in his final report on the investigation…

Earlier this year, an undercover operative working for Washington-based animal rights organization Compassion over Killing secretly recorded hours of video at the Cooke hatchery. It turned over 17 hours of video to the State of Maine in June as part of an animal cruelty complaint… In October, the group publicly released a gruesome highlight reel nearing five minutes in length that showed fish stomped on, bashed against solid objects and tossed for long distances by the tail. It also featured deformed and diseased salmon videotaped at the facility…

While acknowledging the failings at the Bingham hatchery, Cooke has also attacked the motives of Compassion over Killing, the non-profit that promotes vegan diets. COK board chair Amy Trakinski is also managing director of VegInvest, an investment fund that backs companies that make plant-based alternatives to meat and seafood, which is in effect competition for Cooke and others in the seafood industry.

COK investigation director Mike Wolf told CBC in October the group promotes “plant-based eating as a way to build a kinder world, and in doing so, we promote plant-based food companies. “But, we do not have any ties to them outside of that.” Compassion Over Killing lawyer Will Lowery said the organization is aware of the outcome. “Although we are disappointed, we remain optimistic that there will ultimately be accountability for the acts of cruelty depicted in the videos and are actively pursuing other avenues of enforcement,” Lowery said in a statement to CBC’.  SOURCE…

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