I've served as the Canadian Head of Investigations for international animal advocacy organization Animals' Angels, Canadian-based organizations Canadians for Ethical Treatment of Farmed Animals and the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition, and most recently as the Director of Investigations for Mercy For Animals Canada where, together with a small team of investigators, we completed and released seven undercover investigations … All of my work—investigative and artistic—seeks to challenge our basic beliefs about farmed animals and foster a sense of justice for all animals.
The above quote and picture are from Twyla's website for her artwork where you can find her paintings and text. Click to go to her website and be amazed!
Below are pictures and words from Twyla at farm auctions where some of the worse crimes against animals take place in full view.
This downer cull 'dairy' cow was discovered in a livestock auction in Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, downed cull dairy cows are a common sight at auctions - used up and calcium depleted to the point where their bones fracture these girls are so health-compromised many do not survive the trip to slaughter. Those that do but go down are pulled or forced off the trailers in unimaginable ways.
As with pork, there is an increasing level of cruelty with beef products that is inversely proportional to the cost of the meat. Hamburger, especially hamburgers from fast food restaurants, come exclusively from these broken- down, suffering cows. If there was no market for hamburger, these injured and ailing cows could be put down on-farm rather than loaded, transported and dragged through the auction, collecting station and slaughterhouse system.
Ginette was one of two survivors of a terrible trailer accident in Quebec. The driver had been lazy and failed to insert the dividers between the cages (a routine problem in Quebec). When he stopped too abruptly the cages flew forward, opening and spilling chickens onto the busy roadway.
At least 10 birds died this way. Three birds desperately clung to the cage below them. One of these birds later died. We managed to rescue the two survivors, Ginette and Denis who were brought to a sanctuary where they are now happily living out their lives.
Transportation systems were never designed with poultry in mind. If injured, dying or ill there is no way to remove them from the trailer, which holds up to 5,000-7,000 birds. There is no way to ensure the welfare of each bird, yet they experience pain as any other animal does.
This llama and very ill horse were found in a livestock auction in Ontario. We were visiting the day after the sale and shocked to see that many of the animals had still not been provided with any water. We quickly pulled together some buckets and provided hay. The horse drank 2 of these buckets of water without pausing.
Many of the cattle similarly had not had any water so we frantically ran around trying to ensure everyone got some. This problem is the direct result of Ontario's animal welfare regulations lacking clear direction on providing water at sales. Without a regulation, unfortunately auctions just cannot be trusted to do the right thing for the animals.
Billy was a cull boar we discovered freezing in an exposed, outdoor pen at an auction in Missouri. He had what we suspected to be a fractured left hind leg. Although Billy was an intact, adult boar he was the most gentle pig I've ever met.
Billy quietly accepted us - fussing over him with a blanket and heating pad, feeding him cheerios, apples and yogurt by hand. We so badly wanted to rescue Billy, but it wasn't possible with his injury. We tried to reason with the auction workers to at least put him out of his misery and shoot him. We soon realized it would all be for naught when we were told it was the auction veterinarian that had bought him, left him like this and was taking him to the local butcher tomorrow.
We stayed with Billy nearly all night but were eventually forced to leave. When we returned the next morning, we were not allowed on the premises but we discovered that Billy was no longer there and the rendering plant had not been called to pick up his body. It's most likely that Billy suffered through the night, freezing and in pain with his broken leg, only to be brought to slaughter the next day.
I still have Billy's picture up in my office. He's my reminder of how animals return what they sense from us, that they appreciate kindness as all of us do and that we must fight for them harder than we ever have before.