Feature Story                                                                                                     Tuesday, June 10, 2014

 

The Infamous Eight

Chilliwack dairy farmer promises changes after BC SPCA launches abuse investigation

Staff/Voice photos

 

Jeff Klooyman, co-owner of the Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. speaks to media at the dairy farm on Tuesday.

 

n Monday, the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued a release recommending that 8 employees of Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd., Canada's largest dairy, face charges of animal cruelty.

Public condemnation erupted across the country when the taped abuse came to light, with many swearing milk boycotts.

Speaking to media at his farm on Tuesday, an embattled Jeff Kooyman said the family was deeply shocked by what was depicted on the video.

 

"We're a family operation," he said. “These alleged actions in no way reflect the farming and animal care standards practiced by our family or by the dairy industry. As a farming family, we're committed to providing the best care for our animals and we have a zero tolerance for animal abuse.”

 

The eight employees on the video have all been laid off and Kooyman said the company plans some changes to ensure that it doesn't happen again including adding training time for new staff', animal welfare training for all current employees, They will also install a network of closed-circuit security cameras and stream them online.

Questions arose about injuries to the animals because in the video some of the cows were bleeding around the feet and legs.

Lead Vetrenarian David Dykshorn referred to them as "hock lesions" saying there are always some in the centre of the herd.

The Voice learned at the farm that the person who took the video was thought to have been a plant from the animal rights group; Mercy for Animals, who Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. (CCSL) hired to work at the dairy.

Anna Pippus, the director of legal advocacy with Mercy for Animals, said that their investigator repeatedly brought his concerns about the handling of the animals to the company, but was ignored.

"The company allowed criminal cruelty to animals to flourish on its watch," said Pippus in a release, adding that the government needs to create, and enforce, certain standards in care.

"The government currently is not proactively inspecting farms for compliance with animal welfare laws which means cruelty and neglect run rampant on dairy factory farms across the country."

 

In 2008, Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. was taken to BC Supreme court after several animals were injured during transport to slaughter. The company was later cleared of those allegations.

It's not clear what brought Mercy for Animals to the Prairie Central Rd. dairy in the first place. The group could not be reached for comment.
 


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