Dairy Industry in Shock over Animal Abuse Video

Jun 10, 2014

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Dairy Farmers of Canada Calls the Footage Upsetting

By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com

Canada’s dairy community is dealing with a video that surfaced depicting horrendous animal abuse on a dairy farm in British Columbia.

The undercover video was taken by the animal activist group – Mercy for Animals Canada.

Owners of the dairy farm in question, the Kooyman family (Chilliwack Cattle Sales), are the largest family-owned dairy operation in the country, and milk more than 3,500 cows. The farm is located in the Fraser Valley, about 100 km east of Vancouver.

The family was not given the chance to view the footage until it was released to the public on the evening of June 9. After the video aired on television, the farm took immediate action, and terminated the eight employees who were involved in the animal abuse case. Employees were initially suspended when the farm was first notified of the allegations last week.

Officials from the B.C. SPCA were called to investigate the farm on Friday (June 6) after allegations of mistreatment of animals had occurred.  The SPCA is recommending charges of animal cruelty be laid against the eight employees. Charges are pending.

“We very much support the actions that have been taken by the B.C’s SPCA,” David Wiens, Vice President of Dairy Farmers of Canada said in an interview.

Wiens who is also a dairy farmer in Manitoba, says that when he viewed the video, he was disturbed by the images of animal abuse.  “It was really shocking for me to see that,” he said.  “The perpetrators should never be allowed to work with animals again.”

Dairy farmers work closely with their attending veterinarians and nutritionist to provide the best animal care, Wiens explained.  “Caring for our animals as dairy farmers is at the very heart of what we do,” he said. “And for us, animal health and welfare is a top priority.”

The abuse captured at this farm is considered to be an isolated case, and does not reflect industry standards which are outlined in the Dairy Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle. 

Farmers from across the country took to social media to share their outrage towards the culprits who were caught abusing dairy cows. Many also tried to counter the negative press by sharing pictures and tweets about how animals are cared for on their farms.