In light of the government's decision to introduce a goat dairy operation at Joyceville Institution to produce milk for the Feihe Chinese infant formula factory, Evolve Our Prison Farms is calling for a total prisoner boycott of the prison farm program until it's a program that doesn't exploit anybody.
The following letter was mailed on March 16 2018 to Inmate Committees across Canada.
Thank you for the feedback you provided, expressing your preferences for prison farms. We received 143 completed forms, the majority of which came from Joyceville Institution in Kingston, where there is a prison slaughterhouse.
Your anonymous feedback has been submitted to the government and released to the public. In total, 72% selected plant-based agriculture and/or sanctuary as your top choice. Of the 28% who favoured a return to dairy, many added “no slaughter” – yet it’s a necessity of the industry.
One prisoner at Joyceville wrote, “I personally could not be present in any area where animals are being killed. I have suffered a trauma so profound because of the offense I committed that just the thought of seeing any living thing die is unthinkable to me.”
Despite our two-year effort campaigning for plant-based agriculture and sanctuary, we regret to report that we have failed. The bulk of funding for prison farms in Kingston ($4.3 million over 5 years) will go towards a goat dairy operation at Joyceville. They will begin with 400 goats whose milk will be sold to a newly constructed multinational infant formula factory (Feihe) which will eventually source milk from 100,000 goats, shipping 85% of its product to China.
As part of this “rehabilitation” program, prisoners will inseminate goats, remove newborn kids in order to machine-milk their mothers (most males are slaughtered in infancy), and finally prisoners will slaughter and butcher the goats, along with animals from hundreds of local farms.
This is unacceptable. Our government has an obligation to actually care about the quality of your rehabilitation. They have no right to sell your rehabilitative programming to the highest bidder, or to exploit your labour along with the vulnerable animals used in your “therapy.”
Prisoners, rehabilitation is about you. You have a say in what rehabilitation truly looks like. You have a right to say no, this is not what rehabilitation looks like.
We are appealing to prisoners to oppose this shameful decision through non-cooperation. You deserve better, the animals deserve better, society deserves better. Together, we can and will demand better. Refuse to participate in the prison farm program until it’s a program that doesn’t exploit anybody.
This mostly impacts prisoners at Joyceville but we want the message to spread across Canada. We must unite to protect prisons against exploitation of ANY kind.
We will keep you informed of our progress, and we invite you to keep us informed of yours. On March 24, a large group of supporters will be protesting outside Collins Bay Institution in favour of non-violent and non-exploitative rehabilitation – for prisoner justice, for animal justice, for environmental justice, and for sheer common sense.
On behalf of a widespread community of compassionate prison farm advocates
Evolve Our Prison Farms (57 Foster Street, Box 2012, Perth, Ontario, K7H 1R9)