Outcry, no charges 19 months after 'horrifying' video from B.C. dairy farm

VANCOUVER -- An animal-rights group in British Columbia is speaking out about a 19-month lag in prosecuting what it calls one of the worst cases of farm-animal cruelty in Canadian history.

See Full Article

Peter Fricker of the Vancouver Humane Society said the government has failed to provide a reason for the delay in laying charges against a Fraser Valley dairy farm and eight of its employees after a video of cows allegedly being abused made headlines across the country.

"Our underlying concern with all of this is just whether the Crown is taking this case ... as seriously as it should be," Fricker said.

"We had expected there would be some word on charges much sooner."

In June 2014, the B.C. SPCA recommended animal-cruelty charges against Chilliwack Cattle Sales after receiving graphic video of cows being kicked, punched and beaten with rods.

In one instance, a cow is hoisted up by a forklift from a chain wrapped around its neck and dragged out of its pen as a worker shouts, "Leave her like that."

The footage was collected using secret cameras as part of an undercover operation conducted by the animal-rights activist group Mercy For Animals.

The humane society wrote Attorney General Suzanne Antonne late last year inquiring about the delay but Fricker said the organization has received no reply.

"While we appreciate that this case may be complex, the extraordinary delay in Crown counsel's response is concerning," read the humane society's letter, signed by executive director Debra Probert.

The B.C. Milk Marketing Board announced days after the video went public that it would not accept milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sales until its operations had been independently audited, and that any of the company's milk currently in its possession would be destroyed.

The farm's owner, Jeff Kooyman, said at the time the video was "horrifying to watch" and pledged to work with the SPCA on better training for staff.

Animal-rights lawyer Anna Pippus was director of legal advocacy with the Canadian branch of Mercy For Animals at the time of the group's investigation and on Thursday called the delay shocking and concerning.

"This was a very serious crime that was unearthed at Chilliwack Cattle Sales and it would be nice to see this given a real priority by Crown prosecutors," said Pippus, now the director of farmed-animal advocacy at Animal Justice Canada.

"It's been a very long time that they've been saying, 'It's just around the corner, it's just around the corner."'

Justice Ministry spokesman Dan McLaughlin said in an email Thursday that a decision from the Crown was forthcoming.

"We appreciate that this review has taken longer than what we would normally expect but we anticipate that we will be able to announce a decision on this matter early next week," he wrote.

Animal cruelty has become more high profile in B.C. over the past two weeks, with two instances of the province's SPCA raiding dog and cat breeding and boarding facilities.

"It will be interesting to see how quickly Crown makes a decision on any charges that are recommended in those cases, which obviously deal with domestic pets," said Fricker of the Vancouver Humane Society.

"We would hope that the Crown would not make any differentiation between cruelty to farm animals and cruelty to domestic pets."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trudeau says he was informed of Fortin investigation 'a number of weeks ago'

    Canada News CBC News
    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he found out about the investigation into Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, who had been the public face of the vaccine distribution drive, a few weeks ago, but not the details of the sexual misconduct allegations. Source
  • Federal government invests $200 million to build an mRNA vaccine plant in Ontario

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government today announced a $200-million investment to help a Mississauga, Ont.-based company build a plant that can churn out millions of mRNA vaccines. Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the money will be used to expand an existing site owned by Resilience Biotechnologies Inc. Source
  • Feds investing nearly $200M in Mississauga, Ont. plant to mass produce vaccines

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The federal government will invest almost $200 million in Mississauga, Ont.-based Resilience Biotechnologies to eventually be able to mass produce vaccines domestically. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement on Tuesday, stating that the money will go toward creating and maintaining 500 jobs and 50 co-op positions for young people “to get their foot in the door in a growing sector. Source
  • Massive fire north of Prince Albert, Sask., is threatening farms and acreages

    Canada News CBC News
    Harold Fisher is wondering if he'll have a home to go back to. Fisher had to evacuate his farm late Monday evening because of a large fire raging north of Prince Albert, Sask., about 135 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon. Source
  • 'Sheerness when wet': Joe Fresh recalls boys, toddler swim shorts out of 'abundance of caution'

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Loblaws' Joe Fresh clothing brand is voluntarily recalling swim shorts for boys and toddlers over concerns about the sheerness of the trunks’ fabric when wet. Joe Fresh said in a recall notice posted online that there are no safety concerns with the products. Source
  • Ikea recalls select dishes due to risk of breakage and burns

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ikea Canada has issued a recall for select dishes after the company received reports of some of these products breaking, leading to a possible burn risk. In a notice issued on Tuesday, Ikea Canada said it was recalling the Heroisk and Talrika style plates, bowls, and mugs "due to the potential risk of burns from hot contents upon breakage. Source
  • Container ship is the largest of its kind to visit Canada: Halifax Port Authority

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Port officials in Halifax say the largest container ship to visit a Canadian port has arrived at the city's south-end container terminal. A spokesman for the Port of Halifax says the CMA CGM Marco Polo is 396 metres long and can carry the equivalent of 16,022 containers that are each 20-feet long. Source
  • Investing in new coal, oil and gas projects must stop to hit climate goals, global energy agency says

    World News CBC News
    A report by the International Energy Agency says immediate action is needed to reshape the world's energy sector in order to meet ambitious climate goals by 2050, including ending investments in new coal mines, oil and gas wells. Source
  • Quebec reports 549 new COVID-19 cases, 9 more deaths

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebec has 549 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of people infected to 364,396 since the start of the pandemic. The province's health officials also confirmed nine more deaths, a total of 11,050 after it was ruled one death was not related to COVID-19. Source
  • Israel resumes airstrikes on Gaza, as Palestinian militants fire more rockets into Israel

    World News CBC News
    Israel bombarded Gaza with airstrikes and Palestinian militants resumed cross-border rocket fire on Tuesday after a brief overnight lull during which the United Nations sent a small fuel convoy into the enclave, where it says 52,000 people are now displaced. Source