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

  • New Yorker fires reporter Ryan Lizza over alleged sexual misconduct

    World News CBC News
    The New Yorker magazine said Monday it has cut ties with well-known political reporter Ryan Lizza for alleged sexual misconduct. The magazine recently learned Lizza had "engaged in what we believe was improper sexual conduct," a spokeswoman said. Source
  • Mexican journalist in U.S. fears he'll be killed if deported

    World News CTV News
    HOUSTON -- Advocates for a Mexican journalist detained in a remote West Texas facility asked the U.S. government on Monday to grant him asylum instead of deporting him to a country where he believes he'll be killed. Source
  • N.L. man who attacked girlfriend with coat hanger gets discharge

    Canada News CTV News
    A 20-year-old man who was found guilty of attacking his ex-girlfriend has been granted a discharge after his lawyer argued a criminal record would “hamper his plans” for the future. Judge Lori Marshall granted Lancelot Saunders an absolute discharge after Saunders’s lawyer said the man had plans to attend Memorial University. Source
  • Crown to appeal stay against man accused in 'Surrey Six' murder case

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- The Crown is appealing a judge's decision to stay a murder charge against a man at a trial stemming from the murders of six people in Surrey, B.C. Jamie Bacon was charged with one count of first-degree murder and one count of conspiracy to murder Corey Lal. Source
  • Trump announces focus on returning Americans to the moon

    World News CBC News
    President Donald Trump wants to send humans back to the moon — and on to Mars. Trump signed a policy directive Monday instructing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to "refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery. Source
  • Human rights challenge by Syrian refugee waiting to put life in drive gathers steam

    Canada News CBC News
    When Yaser Nadaf fled the horrors of war-torn Syria, the last thing he was thinking about was his driver's licence. It was only months later, when he arrived in Canada after a brief stay in Turkey, that he realized it wasn't with him and that without it, he would have to start from the very beginning of Ontario's licensing process, unable to get his G2 licence for at least eight months. Source
  • Syrian refugee's claim that Ontario road test wait-time is discriminatory gathers steam

    Canada News CBC News
    When Yaser Nadaf fled the horrors of war-torn Syria, the last thing he was thinking about was his driver's licence. It was only months later, when he arrived in Canada after a brief stay in Turkey, that he realized it wasn't with him and that without it, he would have to start from the very beginning of Ontario's licensing process, unable to get his G2 licence for at least eight months. Source
  • B.C. farm company investigating carbon monoxide exposure of 43 workers

    Canada News CTV News
    DELTA, B.C. -- A company says it is investigating to determine if changes are needed in its operations after dozens of workers were exposed to carbon monoxide at one of its farm in Delta, B.C. Source
  • 'We did our best:' Sentencing argument delay for ski resort that cut down trees

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- Sentencing arguments for a world-renowned Alberta ski resort that admitted to cutting down some endangered trees have been delayed for seven months -- much to the frustration of the judge hearing the case. Source
  • Swedish police probe arson attempt at Jewish cemetery, firebombing of synagogue

    World News CTV News
    HELSINKI -- Police in Sweden say they are investigating an attempted arson at a Jewish cemetery. Remnants of two glass bottles with flammable contents were found Monday near the chapel at the cemetery in Malmo, Sweden's third-largest city. Source