Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Sentencing Handed Down in Cow Case
No mercy from the court with jail and stiff fines for abuse
Released by Mercy for Animals/Voice file photo
Voice file photo. People pictured are not involved in the case.
arlier today, Cody Larson and Lloyd Blackwell, two former workers at Chilliwack Cattle Sales—the largest dairy factory farm in Canada—pleaded guilty to a total of three counts of violating the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The Chilliwack Provincial Law Court has sentenced Larson to 20 days in jail and a fine of $4,000. He will serve his sentence on consecutive weekends, beginning this Friday, June 30th. Larson is also prohibited from having large animals such as pigs, cows, and horses in his custody or care for a year. Blackwell was sentenced to pay a fine of $7,000 and he is prohibited from having large animals in his custody or care for three years. Both offenders have two years to pay their fines in full.
These workers' guilty pleas follow a hidden-camera exposé by Mercy For Animals, an international farmed animal protection organization, and are the sixth and seventh convictions after the release of gruesome undercover video footage. On May 18, 2017, after guilty pleas stemming from the same animal cruelty investigation, the Honorable Justice Gary Cohen sentenced three former Chilliwack Cattle Sales workers to a total of 127 days in jail and prohibited them from having custody or control of any animal for a total of seven years. This marked the first time in Canadian history that former factory farm workers had been sentenced to jail for animal abuse exposed through an undercover investigation by an animal protection organization. In December 2016, also stemming from this investigation, Chilliwack Cattle Sales and one of its owners were convicted of animal cruelty and ordered to pay fines totaling almost $350,000.
The cruelty exposed through Mercy For Animals' footage prompted BC agricultural minister Norm Letnick to amend the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to incorporate the Dairy Code of Practice. Mercy For Animals is calling on all provinces to incorporate the Dairy Code of Practice into their provincial animal cruelty legislation. Giving the Dairy Code of Practice the force of law will require the dairy industry to follow basic minimum standards for animal welfare and help prevent many of the worst abuses documented at Chilliwack Cattle Sales.
"There is no excuse for animal abuse," said Krista Hiddema, Mercy For Animals' vice president for Canada. "The best way to address animal cruelty is to prevent it. We're asking all Canadian provinces to create a united front against abuse in the dairy industry. Cruelty and neglect will plague Canada's farms until the Dairy Code of Practice is given the force of law in every province."
To view the undercover video that led to today's convictions, visit CanadaDairy.MercyForAnimals.org.