Friday, April 14, 2017 

Local News

Barn Door Slams on Chilliwack Cattle

Huge fine, jail time, Mercy for Animals wants dairy code

Mercy for Animals/Voice photos


Jeff Kooyman speaks with media at his farm on Chilliwack Central when the story first broke.


esterday, three workers of Chilliwack Cattle Sales—the largest dairy factory farm in Canada—were convicted of violating the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for viciously kicking, punching, and beating cows, and using chains and tractors to lift sick and injured cows by their necks. Travis Keefer, Chris Vandyke, and Jamie Visser pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges. They are expected to be sentenced in early May.

These convictions followed a hidden-camera exposé by Mercy For Animals, an international farmed animal protection organization. In December, also stemming from these incidents, Chilliwack Cattle Sales and one of its owners were convicted of animal cruelty and ordered to pay fines of almost $350,000. Four additional workers were also charged. Their cases are pending.

Mercy For Animals praises the BC SPCA and the Crown for pursuing justice in this important matter.

This investigation prompted BC agricultural minister Norm Letnick to amend the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to incorporate the Dairy Code of Practice. The Dairy Code of Practice outlines minimum guidelines for the treatment and welfare of Canada's dairy cows.

According to reports obtained this year through freedom of information requests, the BC Milk Marketing Board found that more than 25 percent of BC dairy farms had failed to comply with the provincial code of practice for animal welfare over an 18-month period. Inspection reports showed numerous problems, including overcrowding, lame or soiled cattle, tails accidentally torn off by machinery, branding and dehorning of calves without pain medication, cows lying on concrete, and failure to produce a manual outlining management practices on individual farms.

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.

"The wheels of justice are finally turning for these tortured animals," said Krista Hiddema, vice president of Mercy For Animals in Canada. "Only the most sadistic acts of cruelty are being prosecuted, however. It is obvious the dairy industry is incapable of self-regulation. Until the Dairy Code of Practice has the force of law in every province, animal abuse and neglect will run rampant in the Canadian dairy industry."

To view the undercover video that led to today's convictions, visit CanadaDairy.



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