Officials defend shooting 1,300 piglets

Sept. 25, 2012 at 10:03 AM
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WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Manitoba's chief provincial veterinarian is denying media reports that 1,300 penned-in piglets were inhumanely euthanized by being shot repeatedly.

The former manager of a now-defunct pig farm in Austin, west of Manitoba, broke the news Monday to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and the Toronto Star of how the less than month-old piglets were corralled and shot a month ago.

Tony Heppner told the CBC he has been having nightmares after watching the cull in which some piglets had to be shot as many as five times to kill them.

Chief Veterinary Office Dr. Wayne Lees ordered the kill a day after inspecting the pigs that he said were in "severe distress" from malnutrition, the Star said.

Heppner denied that and said the animals were fed and cared for, but were affected by a flu-like outbreak.

He said he was told the piglets would be given lethal injections, but provincial veterinarian Lees said that would have been impractical.

"We don't really have too many other options when dealing with large numbers of animals like that," he said. "You can't euthanize them through injection because catching 1,300 piglets and giving them intravenous injections is quite a task."

The chief of the Winnipeg Humane Society, Bill McDonald, told the CBC he had concerns.

"If this report is accurate and someone was standing [and] shooting four or five times, that's not good," McDonald said.

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