Thanks to Undercover Footage, This Dairy Farm Will Finally Be Charged With Animal Cruelty

In a bittersweet victory for farm animals, 20 animal cruelty charges were finally filed against the owners and seven workers of the largest dairy factory farm in Canada following an undercover investigation that exposed heartbreaking abuse.

The investigation was conducted by Mercy for Animals (MFA) in 2014 at Chilliwack Cattle Sales in Chilliwack, B.C., which is home to more than 3,500 cows.

Footage obtained by an undercover investigator showed workers viciously beating cows with metal pipes, punching them, kicking them in the face, ripping hair out of their tails, lifting cows who were unable to move on their own with tractors and chains around their necks and leaving sick and injured cows without veterinary care, among other serious problems. During the first scene, workers can be heard laughing at the suffering they caused in the background.

Anna Pippus, former director of legal advocacy for MFA Canada told the media at the time that the investigator had brought concerns to management, but no action was taken.

Following the investigation, MFA turned the evidence over to the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA), which subsequently launched an investigation and recommended that charges be filed.

Despite the clear and inexcusable level of cruelty found at this facility, serious concerns continued to be raised about the delay in filing charges. According to the CBC, the Criminal Justice Branch said it took so long because of the number of people involved and complexity of assessing the evidence.

Now, however, it looks like those involved will finally be held accountable for the suffering they caused. According to MFA, this week four owners and seven workers were formally charged with cruelty, and if they’re convicted, they each face fines of up to $75,000, up to two years in prison, and up to a lifetime ban on owning animals.

Sixteen of the charges were filed under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act involving cows, while four were filed under the Wildlife Act for cruelty to a pigeon.

This investigation, like others, has also led to other positive changes. At the time, MFA called on Saputo Canada’s largest dairy processor, which took milk from Chilliwack to make some serious changes to improve the welfare of dairy cows and over the summer it did.

The company updated its Animal Welfare Policy to reflect a zero tolerance policy on cruelty, in addition to committing to end tail docking, using pain relief for dehorning and funding animal care education at two universities.

The BC SPCA also announced this past summer that the government took action in response to the investigation to provide more protection for dairy cows by defining generally accepted practices in the Dairy Code of Practice and referencing them in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. MFA is now urging all Canadian provinces to give the dairy code the full force of the law under current animal cruelty legislation to ensure cows at least get basic care and are handled humanely.

For more info on the investigation, and other ways to help dairy cows, check out Mercy for Animals and Choose Veg.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

158 comments

Derek Buxton
Derek Buxton2 years ago

Why are these cruel people still on this planet. What punishment will they get, the authorities are so weak to allow this to go unpunished.

SHAME ON THEM

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

you're better off without milk and cheese, unless:

1) they're raised on pasture

2) the calves are allowed to stay with their mothers

3) the calves are never killed

4) the mothers are never killed if they stop producing milk

5) the bulls are allowed to live out their lives and never killed.

Even pasture raised, organic dairy will not do 2-5. The farm that would do all of these things is very rare. Because humans, including livestock farmers, are psychotic by nature and killing is all they can do.

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Nena Milker
Nena MILLER2 years ago

Cows are such gentle animals and with some attention and love they will comply with most requests. Isn't it enough that they give their lives for humans? Couldn't humans have a shred of compassion and caring for these wonderful animals? Sociopathic assholes seem to be drawn to places where they can terrorize lives and get away with it. I would hope each of these heinous 2 legged creatures would have the maximum sentence. For any one of them to "be shocked" at this is just pure bullshit. Every person there knows what is going on.

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Dianne D.
Dianne D2 years ago

Shut them down. Marie W. is right -

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Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

No AG-GAG laws.

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Muff-Anne York-Haley

They should be closed down!

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Amanda A.
Amanda A2 years ago

You can easily find many of these boys on social media with a little searching.. It doesn't appear any of them are "suffering" or even feel regretful of their actions. When I searched #chilliwackcattlesales on Instgram I commented on one of the photos of the news article and was met with a reply from a girl who "personally knows these people" and completely defended them saying this was an isolated incident and dairy farmers "worry sick" over their cows... Please.. If they worried sick, they would have known what was going on and would have fired these men immediately, not just suspend them WITH pay...

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Barbara P.
Barbara P2 years ago

I can't comprehend the sickness these people have that are capable of such abuse. I think people like this should get the death penalty, because they are truly a threat to society. I really hope this case wins and charges these sickos to the max.

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Karen N.
Karen N2 years ago

Regardless of whether it is a family farm or not those that enter into the business of farming animals are not in business for the purpose of animal welfare, they are in business for the purpose of exploiting them. Just like many pets suffer intolerable abuse from their families so can animals on family farms suffer just as much as those in factory farms.

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