Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Severe animal abuse alleged at Chilliwack dairy farm

June 9, 2014 Langley Times

Eight employees at Canada's largest dairy producer in Chilliwack face animal cruelty charges recommended by the BC SPCA. An undercover video produced by someone from the non-profit group Mercy for Animals Canada was handed to the BC SPCA, and showed a level of abuse at the Chilliwack Cattle Sales even seasoned investigators have rarely seen.

"I have to say I have worked at the SPCA for 14 years and I have seen the most disturbing videos," community relations general manager Lorie Chortyk told the Times Monday, "and I have seen nothing that sickened me like this.

"This wasn't pushing cows along. These are animals who are trapped, being kicked in the face, being viciously beaten and people laughing. There is nothing in this behaviour that would have been part of a normal farm operation."

The video showed clearly identifiable individuals, and the material provided to the SPCA included expert commentary from seven veterinarians, including Dr. James Reynolds, one of North America's leading dairy cattle experts.

After the video was provided to the SPCA, an investigation was launched and criminal code charges have been recommended against the eight employees identified in the video "for wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to animals."

While the BC SPCA was not immediately saying the name of the farm involved, a press release said it was Canada's largest dairy farm, which is Chilliwack Cattle Sales, owned by the Kooyman families of Chilliwack. In a press release issued Monday, the Kooyman family expressed shock over the allegations of animal cruelty and have invited the media for a tour of the farm on Prairie Central Road Tuesday.

The release said the allegations are "extremely serious" and the family is "devastated by the thought that animals in our care have been harmed." All employees involved have been suspended pending results of an investigation.

The company said that Dr. David Dykshorn and Dr. Rich Vanderwal of Abbotsford Veterinary Clinic regularly visit the farm and monitor animal health. “We have had a working relationship with the Kooymans for over 20 years and can speak to their integrity and care for their animals,” Vanderwal and Dykshorn said in the release. “Animal abuse is unacceptable on any stage and we actively work with the Kooyman family to ensure the highest level of animal welfare on their farm.” (NB: Nov. 4, 2021 Cows severely beaten at Cedar Valley Farms, an organic dairy farm owned by the Vanderwal family, undercover video reveals.  https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/b-c-farm-has-dairy-licence-suspended-amid-animal-cruelty-allegations-1.5653275

Deplorable treatment of B.C. dairy cows caught on camera

June 9, 2014 CTV News

The SPCA is recommending animal cruelty charges after obtaining hidden camera footage of workers viciously abusing cattle at a major Canadian dairy farm in B.C. The shocking video shows workers whipping and striking cows with chains, canes, rakes and their own fists and feet at Chilliwack Cattle Sales in the Fraser Valley.

Some of the animals included “downed and trapped cows who could not escape the abuse,” the SPCA’s Marcie Moriarty said in a statement. The footage was shot by an animal rights activist from Mercy for Animals Canada who worked at the farm undercover. It was sent to the SPCA on June 2.

“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.

SPCA constables went to Chilliwack Cattle Sales with a veterinarian and dairy cattle expert last week. Moriarty said the Kooyman family, who owns Chilliwack Cattles Sales, is cooperating with the investigation.

The Kooymans issued a statement Monday calling the allegations against their employees “extremely serious.” “We are devastated by the thought that animals in our care have been harmed. All employees involved have been suspended pending the results of the investigation,” the statement said. “These alleged actions in no way reflect the farming and animal care standards practiced by our family or by the dairy industry.”

In response to the video, the SPCA is also calling on B.C. to adopt requirements from 2009’s Canadian Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle into law. “The images in the undercover video are extremely disturbing and highlight an urgent need for better standards to protect farm animals,” Moriarty said.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have already incorporated farm animal care standards into provincial legislation, the SPCA said.

The B.C. Dairy Association said it condemns any mistreatment of animals in the industry and is working with the SPCA in its investigation.

Watch the video: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/deplorable-treatment-of-b-c-dairy-cows-caught-on-camera-1.1860631

Comment: The exploitation, suffering, and abuse of animals is rampant throughout society and the farm industry is synonymous with systemic cruelty. That the oppressed are victims of such sadistic and violent behaviour speaks volumes as to the evil and inhumanity among us. Investigation after investigation exposes incident after incident, and it’s day after day that we hear yet another shocking story. Sadly, there’ll be no justice for these cows, despite the initial outcry and efforts of a few who work tirelessly for those with no voice. Join the movement. We can’t afford to be silent on this matter. Help stop the abuse. Share widely- contact the BC SPCA info@spca.bc.ca  & the BC Dairy Association  contactus@bcdairy.ca

Sign the petition calling on Saputo to stop supporting abuse. http://www.mercyforanimals.ca/dairy/#petition Over 100,00 signatures and counting! Boycott dairy, choose a plant-based diet.

June 10, 2014 Chilliwack Cattle Sales owners previously investigated for injured cattle, E. coli; Read the 2008 ruling by BC Supreme Court

June 11, 2014 How long should we wait to act?

June 11, 2014  comment: The dairy industry is in full damage control, issuing the predictable statements that this does not represent the industry as a whole, and they, too, are shocked and disgusted at what they’ve seen. Meanwhile, fired employee, Jamie Visser told CTV News, “I wouldn’t say they should be completely shocked. They knew about 80 per cent of what was going on.” Another employee, Travis Keefer, said striking the cows hard was “a last resort.” By all accounts, management knew, or should have known what was going on. There’s simply no excuse!

Extensive coverage by the media included CKNW’s Bill Good interviewing Carolyn McLaren, from the BC Farm Animal Care Council today. As expected, Good supports the industry, and said that boycotts are “a knee-jerk reaction,” adding that Dairyland can’t be expected to know what is happening at its supplier. Bruce Allen, on the other hand, and also with the station, offered up a scathing indictment of the eight “”sadists” -  “nutbars” who took pleasure in abusing the cows, - the company, and its lack of oversight, and the absent SPCA.

We concur with Allen’s position, and not that of Good’s, and expressed our views in e-mails to CKNW. Animal agriculture is inherently cruel, with suffering and abuse widespread throughout the dairy, egg, and meat industries.  

It’s not that we don’t know the reality. We all do. It’s just easier to minimize, deny, or turn a blind eye to the awful truth. As with any other form of industrialized animal use, we have the choice to either participate or to refuse.

The SPCA is calling for Canadian Codes of Practice for the care of farm animals to be incorporated into the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act so the standards can be enforced in law. The BC SPCA is an animal welfare organization, “which believe the keeping and use of animals is justified as long as their welfare is ensured.”

Unless there’s a radical rethinking of the prevalent view as animals as property to be exploited for human use, legal change will be limited and slow. We can all rethink our existing habits and make ethical decisions today. Of interest, an essay by Gary L. Francione: Animals As Property

June 13, 2014 Milk Marketing Board bans milk pick-up from Chilliwack farm; market for dairy products in decline; June update: normal pickup & policies to start immediately

June 16, 2014 Saputo drops Chilliwack Cattle Sales milk over cow abuse video

June 17, 2014 Saputo vows to use “whatever resources I have” to reform dairy industry in wake of BC abuse of dairy cows

Comment: The animal agriculture is inherently cruel; the battery cages, veal crates, sow stalls, forced pregnancies, stealing babies from their mothers, unable to express normal behaviours – the list goes on and on. Born into a life of misery from the day they are born until they slaughtered. It’s criminal, yet legal, and standard practice by industry groups. Don’t be part of it. Let politicians know you want action. Let’s hope Saputo is sincere and that changes are on the horizon.

June 20, 2014 update: Processors are once again accepting milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sales (CCS). Earlier this week, Saputo rejected the milk, saying business with the farm would not resume until it was “fully satisfied that strict animal welfare practices are in place.” The almost 300,00 litres were destroyed by FPE Renewables, a food waste recycling facility located in Lynden, WA.

June 20, 2014 Canada’s largest dairy farm crippled by abuse allegations from undercover animal rights worker on his first mission; case goes to Court

Comment: Evidence clearly shows that abuse and cruelty was part of the culture at CCS. The reprehensible conduct by sadistic workers like Brad Genereux and Travis Keefer went unchecked. Jail time, at a minimum, is warranted. The magnitude of the crimes perpetrated on these terrified, helpless victims is unpardonable. Finally, on March 1, 2016, Crown Counsel has approved 20 counts of animal cruelty against Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. and seven of its employees.

March 1, 2016 Undercover video at Chilliwack cattle farm leads to cruelty charges; May 18, 2017 jail time for 3 workers; June 29/17 jail for one more abuser; Sept. 6/17 7th worker pleads guilty; Sept. 28/17; Oct 4/17; 6 of the 7 get jail

Related: April 13, 2015 Pitt Meadows Meats expected to plead guilty in E. coli case

Comment: Industrial animal agriculture, along with bureaucrats and politicians, put the economy and corporate profits ahead of animal welfare, public health and safety, the environment, and citizens’ rights. Exposing the truth should be easy but instead there are too many in power with vested interests who want to keep us muzzled. Thankfully, former employee, Daniel Land, was heard and now after five years there will be consequences to the company coverup.

NB: The directors of the numbered company doing business as Pitt Meadows Meats, Ken and Jeff Kooyman, also own Chilliwack Cattle Sales, a dairy plant that was targeted in a hidden camera investigation by Mercy for Animals Canada, a non-profit group.

Read more: MFA - Undercover Investigations: Exposing Animal Abuse  You can lock me up, you can try to silence me, but you can't stop the movement.

BC slaughterhouses; licensing; meat inspection regulations; Salt Spring Island abattoir; Pitt Meadows Meats E.coli case coverup; cruelty; 2023 another covert operation

Ditching in Droves: Why Canadians Are Dropping Milk; sales continue to decline; 2019 companies in bankruptcy


Be sure to visit our Factory Farming & Authors pages

February 13, 2015 Mad cow disease confirmed in Alberta; 1st case in Canada since 2011; Canada must reassure nervous trading partners that its beef is safe

February 20, 2015 Belarus restricts cattle import from Canada; more countries ban Canadian beef due to BSE fears; tally now at 5  

Comment: What with recent cases of avian flu on Fraser Valley farms and now this BSE outbreak, the animal agriculture industry is doing a pretty good job at crippling itself. Politicians and industry can't blame animal activists for this debacle. Tory MP Robert Sopuck: NDP's 'Radical Animal Rights Agenda' Would Cripple Economy

March 4, 2015 update: More than 300 of 750 head of cattle identified as being part of the investigation into the latest case of mad cow disease have been slaughtered, according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The latest BSE case is the 19th found in a Canadian domestic animal since the first case was confirmed in 2003. Over that same period of time, the U.K. has reported 1,434 cases, France 271, Germany 177 and Japan 31, according to statistics posted on the OIE website. Source: Medicine Hat News

Comment: Canada works under international protocols that allow for up to a dozen cases a year of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE. The World Organisation for Animal Health continues to designate Canada a "controlled BSE risk" country.

Read more: Swine flu by any other name is still swine flu; Hallmark; confinement & disease; avian flu on Fraser Valley farms; world markets enact trade bans; flu spreads to WA; OR; across Midwest; Ontario; 2018 African Swine Fever spreading uncontrollably in China & Vietnam