Hidden-Camera Investigation Shows Workers at Canada's Largest Dairy Factory Farm Beating, Kicking, and Torturing Cows; Mercy For Animals Calls for Stronger Legal Protections for Farmed Animals
VANCOUVER, BC, March 1, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Earlier today, a total of 20 animal cruelty charges were filed against the owners of Chilliwack Cattle Sales—the largest dairy factory farm in the country—and seven workers. These landmark charges stem from an investigation by Mercy For Animals in May 2014, documenting Chilliwack workers beating, kicking, and punching animals; using chains and tractors to hoist cows into the air; poking and squeezing festering wounds; and punching bulls in the testicles.
Owners John Kooyman, Kenneth Kooyman, Wesley Kooyman, Jeffery Kooyman and Bradley Kooyman, and workers Travis Keefer, Jonathan Talbot, Jamie Visser, Chris Vandyke, Cody Larson, Brad Genereux, and Lloyd Blackwell have each been charged with violating sections 9.1(1) and 9.1(2) of the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. If convicted, the owners and workers each face fines of up to $75,000, up to two years' imprisonment, and up to a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Immediately following the investigation, Mercy For Animals reported the clear violations of British Columbia's anti-cruelty laws to the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which raided the facility and recommended that charges be filed. Mercy For Animals praises the BCSPCA for pursuing justice in this important matter.
Vandhana Bala, Mercy For Animals' general counsel, will speak about the investigation and resulting charges at a tele-press conference tomorrow morning.
Date and Time: Wednesday, March 2, 10:00 a.m. EST
Krista Hiddema, Mercy For Animals' managing director in Canada, will hold a live press conference in Vancouver, BC tomorrow morning.
Date and Time: Wednesday, March 2, 10:00 a.m. PST
Location: The Fairmont Waterfront (Burrard Room), 900 Canada Place Way, Vancouver
At the time of the investigation, Chilliwack Cattle Sales was a major supplier to Montreal-based Saputo, the largest dairy processor in Canada. In 2015, following discussions with Mercy For Animals, Saputo announced its adoption of a new animal welfare policy for its global dairy supply chain.
Less than a month later, BC agricultural minister Norm Letnick announced that the province would reference the Dairy Code of Practice in the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, but not give it the force of law. The Dairy Code of Practice sets forth certain minimum requirements regarding the treatment and welfare of Canada's dairy cows. Mercy For Animals is now calling for all provinces, including BC, to give the Dairy Code of Practice the force of law in their provincial animal cruelty legislation in order to ensure that dairy cows receive a basic level of care and humane handling.
"The wheels of justice are finally turning for these tortured animals," said Nathan Runkle, president of Mercy For Animals. "However, only the most sadistic acts of cruelty are currently being prosecuted. Until the Dairy Code of Practice has the force of law in every province, animal abuse and neglect will continue to run rampant in the Canadian dairy industry."
To view the undercover video, visit CanadaDairy.MercyForAnimals.org
SOURCE Mercy For Animals Canada
For further information: Vandhana Bala, 312-909-6051; Krista Hiddema, 416-666-3093