Undercover video at Chilliwack cattle farm leads to cruelty charges
Published Tuesday, March 1, 2016 4:57PM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, March 1, 2016 7:00PM PST
The SPCA has announced a slew of charges against a Chilliwack cattle farm where activists captured shocking undercover video of alleged animal abuse two years ago.
Crown counsel has approved 20 counts of animal cruelty against Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. and seven of its employees, the SPCA revealed Tuesday.
Sixteen of the charges are under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and involve offences against dairy cows, while the other four are under the Wildlife Act and involve the treatment of a pigeon.
The SPCA started investigating the farm after reviewing unsettling footage shot on the property in May and April 2014.
The video showed employees “using chains, canes, rakes, their booted feet and their fists to viciously whip, punch, kick and beat dairy cows, including downed and trapped cows who could not escape the abuse,” SPCA chief enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty said in a release.
Employees Travis Keefer, Jonathan Talbot, Jamie Visser, Chris Vandyke, Cody Larson and Brad Genereux are all charged with causing distress and failing to protect an animal from distress. Vandyke, Keefer and Visser are also charged with two other counts relating to kicking and hitting a cow.
A seventh worker, Lloyd Blackwell, is also charged, but the SPCA hasn’t revealed with which count or counts.
Moriarty said the investigation also marks the first time a B.C. company has been held accountable for acts of cruelty on a farm.
“We are extremely pleased that in addition to laying charges against the individual employees, Crown has also held the company and its directors accountable for this unacceptable treatment of the animals,” she said.
John Kooyman, Kenneth Kooyman, Wesley Kooyman, Jeffrey Kooyman and Bradley Kooyman are all charged with causing or permitting animals to be in distress and of another count, which requires people responsible for animals to protect them from circumstances likely to cause them distress.
The undercover video was shot by members of Mercy for Animal Canada, who worked at the farm undercover.
Its release and the resulting public outcry led to the B.C. government adopting new regulations to protect dairy cattle under the province’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The SPCA said the B.C. Milk Marketing Board also incorporated generally accepted practices from the Dairy Code of Canada into its requirements for farms.