The Stouffville Market, located northeast of Toronto in York Region, has a large and comprehensive vegetable market, they’ve been hiding a dirty little secret from the nearby community. The Stouffville Market also houses a livestock area that is open-for-business from 3am – 11am on Saturdays most months of the year.
Despite having an excellent vegetable market on the same premises, the livestock area reminds one of a third-world livestock market where animals are constricted in tiny cages unable to move, then stuffed into onion bags awaiting a horrible fate at some other location. The livestock market is also a fire hazard as both patrons and sellers smoke openly around straw-filled cages.
Stacks of poultry cages, packed with live birds, fill the area – most of these birds and other animals won’t sell today and will be shipped back in these cages. We witnessed these plastic “cages” being flung onto the pavement at the market in the early morning, the birds inside utterly commoditized. The market is a little shop of horrors in the early morning too, where customers wait in the shadows at 3am to make their purchases. What reputable vendor would toss used-up birds out on the road or in ditches in onion sacks to drown or slowly die?
Vendors barter and patrons go home with chickens, rabbits, and ducks stuffed into onion sacks, where they are put into the trunks of cars. This is November, but I’m sure the practice of putting animals in trunks occurs during the oppressive heat of July as well. We would be outraged at the sight of a dog being put into a trunk or left in a hot car, but where is the outrage here? The problem is that few people, outside of the ethnic community it serves, even know that this market exists.
Small dead pigs, laid out on flattened cardboard boxes, are so close to all of these chickens and the prodding fingers of prospective purchasers who may have just visited the livestock area and handled a chicken. Cross-contamination is also a risk.
The market is a disgrace and a blight on the community. They know that they are not permitted to sell hoofstock yet they thumb their noses at regulations. Some vendors appear to be selling Mallard ducks as well, which they assert are Call ducks. This issue remains in contention because Call ducks are usually smaller, stockier, with shorter bills and necks. We are of the opinion that these are Mallard ducks. To report infractions, please contact the Ministry of Natural Resources or call 905.336.4464 for the Canadian wildlife service, and 1.877.847.7667 for infractions.
Please sign the Petition to close down the livestock market.