Monday, June 9, 2014

Local News

Hidden Camera Reveals Abuse

SPCA recommends charges against 8 Chilliwack dairy workers

Released by Lori Chortyk, SPCA Van


he 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 standards.”

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

SAPUTO 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, 2014

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 Act.”

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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