king cole ducks

Vegan activists just saved ducks from an Ontario farm in dramatic rescue

A group of ducks at a factory farm just outside Toronto was saved this week by animal activists who were protesting the conditions the creatures were living in at Stouffville's King Cole Ducks.

Members of the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere posted some graphic photos and videos of what rescuers discovered inside the King Cole facility, which, as a self-proclaimed "family farm," states on its website that it "has long been heralded for its leadership and stewardship in the area of animal care."

Some ducks were found injured, sick and dying or already dead in the dark "free run" barn. Others had legs, wings or beaks stuck in the wire flooring they were standing on.

Activists shut down a section of Warden Avenue in front of the farm on February 18 before occupying King Cole buildings and emerging with 26 ducks they have now taken into their care.

They were not only there to protest the practices of King Cole specifically and factory farms generally, but also new legislation that the Ontario government has proposed that would make it easier for farms to hide the conditions of their facilities and animals from the public.

Under Bill 156, activists, media and others would be dealt heavier-handed punishments —including fines up to $25,000 — for trespassing on farm property to document the circumstances the animals are living in, as well as for interacting with them.

Petitions have been launched to stop the bill from becoming law, as some say it will lead to more brutal animal abuse and exploitation behind closed doors.

The legislation's champions say it will protect farmers from the financial effects and other impacts of trespassers entering their property.

"If only I could take government ministers inside these places where animals are confined - I'd hope they'd change their minds about animals being thought of as food, and see that the animals are sentient beings who deserve protection," says Jenny McQueen, one of the Stouffville rescue organizers.

"They would then consider shutting down animal agriculture and divert subsides to growing plants. The environment would benefit, no animals would be cruelly confined, and the health of Canadians would also be improved."

Demonstrators have in the past shown what kinds of horrors can often secretly lurk behind the banners "free range" and "family farm" in Canada and around the world.

Understandably, many prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the origin of their dinner, or what it and the animal it came from went through before it became a neat, disembodied piece of flesh wrapped in plastic on a shelf.

Lead photo by

Shay the Activist

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Toronto has started installing signs forbidding tent encampments in city parks

Guild Park and Gardens feels like visiting Roman ruins in Toronto

A linear strip of Toronto parks has hidden a buried river for over 70 years

Toronto's only suspension bridge is a tiny gem hidden away in Scarborough

How to research the history of your house in Toronto

This is what Toronto looked like in the 1930s

Here's what to see and do on the Toronto Islands

Here's how to make friends and meet new people in Toronto