BC SPCA is recommending charges of animal cruelty against eight
employees of Canada’s largest dairy farm, following a BC SPCA
investigation in Chilliwack.
“On June 2, the BC SPCA received an
undercover video from the non-profit
group Mercy for Animals Canada that showed the employees using chains,
canes, rakes, their booted feet and their fists to viciously whip,
punch, kick and beat the dairy cows, including downed and trapped cows
who could not escape the abuse,” said Marcie Moriarty, the BC SPCA’s
chief prevention and enforcement officer. “We immediately launched an
investigation into the case and have recommended Criminal Code charges
against the eight employees identified in the video for wilfully causing
unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to animals.”
Moriarty said BC SPCA constables attended the property last week along
with one of North America’s most respected dairy cattle experts,
veterinarian Dr. James Reynolds, as part of an on-going investigation
into the animal management practices of the Chilliwack company. The
company is currently cooperating with the investigation.
“The images in the undercover video are extremely disturbing and
highlight an urgent need for better standards to protect farm animals in
B.C. from abuse and neglect,” said Moriarty. While a Canadian Code of
Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle was published in
2009, she said its requirements have yet to be verified on farms through
third-party inspections or adopted into B.C. law.
The BC SPCA recommends that the Canadian Codes of Practice, which set
out minimum standards of care for various farm animal species, be
incorporated into the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act so that the
standards can be enforced. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, New
Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have already taken the step of
enshrining farm animal care standards into their provincial legislation.
Moriarty said the BC SPCA is committed to working with the B.C.
government, the BC Dairy Association and other industry associations on
measures that would ensure the safe, humane treatment of farm animals
while supporting the viability of B.C. producers. “It is important that
producers have clear expectations around standards of care for farm
animals and that there is a system in place to monitor and enforce these
She said the humane treatment of farm animals is an issue that resonates
strongly with the public.
“The images in the video we received were distressing and clearly
unacceptable,” said Moriarty. “British Columbians, including the
society’s 80,000 supporters, are increasingly concerned about the
treatment of farm animals. We look forward to working with government
and industry on solutions to prevent further neglect and abuse among the
100 million farm animals raised in B.C. each year.”
Dave Taylor, chairman of the BC Dairy Association said the association
is “deeply concerned and saddened” by the alleged incidents at the
Chilliwack farm. “We have been working in close co-operation with the BC
SPCA as this investigation has developed and outright condemn any
mistreatment of animals in our industry. The BC SPCA has done an
excellent job in this investigation thus far and we intend to fully
assist in any way necessary.”
A Statement from Dairyland
STATEMENT – Chilliwack BC Dairy Farm Animal Cruelty
Saputo is outraged by the alleged incidents having taken place
at the Chilliwack dairy farm. We do not condone any form of
animal cruelty and we expect milk producers to adopt proper
animal care methods at all times. Since being informed of this
horrible situation, we have voiced our concerns through the BC
Dairy Council, which acts on behalf of dairy processors in
British Columbia, to both the BC Dairy Association and the BC
Milk Marketing Board (BCMMB). Furthermore, we fully support the
SPCA’s investigation and actions.
It should be noted all dairy processors are required, under
provincial legislation, to purchase their milk through the BCMMB
and we therefore do not have the ability to select the farms
from which milk is sourced.
At Saputo, we recognize and share consumer, government, investor
and civil society organizations’ concerns about animal welfare;
and we appreciate that welfare standards and proper animal care
practices, including healthy living conditions, nutritious diets
and good medical care are necessary.
Dairy processors depend on milk producers and milk marketing
boards to provide high quality milk and this begins with high
standards in animal care. Healthy, well cared for herds are
essential to the dairy industry as a whole.
We will continue to voice our support for proper animal care to
remain a high priority in the dairy industry. We are seeking
clarity from the BC Milk Marketing Board, the milk production
regulator in BC, to understand what actions will be taken to
ensure such incidents do not occur in the future.
Dave Taylor, Chairman BC Dairy Association
Re: Chilliwack Animal Abuse Allegations
CHILLIWACK – June 9,
We were recently made
aware by the BCSPCA of allegations of animal abuse on a local BC dairy
farm. Video footage was submitted to the BCSPCA containing graphic
imagery of numerous depictions of abusive treatment to dairy cows. In
recent days we have been working in close cooperation with the BCSPCA as
a criminal investigation into these allegations gets underway.
Within the BC dairy
industry we have a high level of animal care, and as the representative
organization of British Columbian dairy farmers, we wish to express our
extreme sadness and concern around this incident. Organizationally we
have a zero tolerance policy around these issues and we feel it vital to
assert that this abuse is in no way common practice in our industry.
We are in complete
support of the BCSPCA and will continue to be closely involved in this
investigation, assisting in any way necessary. “The BC SPCA
appreciates the BC Dairy Association’s clear stance against these
unspeakable acts of cruelty,” said Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and
enforcement officer for the BC SPCA. “Their quick response and
assistance in our investigation has been invaluable and we look forward
to continued collaboration as we advance recommendations for the
adoption of the Dairy Code under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
This event is a black
mark in the eye of our industry. We’re deeply shaken around this having
witnessed the footage. We will be taking proactive steps to further our
already strong animal care practices.
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