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

  • Yemen rebels and Saudi-led coalition agree on informal truce

    World News CTV News
    SANAA, Yemen -- An informal agreement to reduce hostilities between Saudi-led coalition forces and rebels in and around Yemen's Red Sea port city of Hodeida has taken hold, military officials said Tuesday, in a move that could be a prelude to peace talks that would end the ruinous war in the poorest Arab country. Source
  • U.K. cabinet to meet after Britain, EU reach draft Brexit deal

    World News CBC News
    Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday. After a year and a half of stalled talks, false starts and setbacks, negotiators agreed on proposals to resolve the main outstanding issue: the Irish border. Source
  • Saskatchewan and Ottawa agree to spend more on addictions treatment

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal and Saskatchewan governments have announced a partnership aimed at helping people struggling with addiction in the province. The agreement provides more than $5 million in funding from the federal government. The program will focus on improving access to treatment for people with "substance use disorders," according to a release on the province's website. Source
  • Newfoundland woman says relatives missing near epicentre of California fire

    Canada News CTV News
    LEWISPORTE, N.L. -- A Newfoundland woman is pleading for help finding missing family members nearly 7,000 kilometres away in the California town of Paradise, a fire-ravaged community at the epicentre of the deadliest wildfire in the state's history. Source
  • High demand: Montreal flower shop inundated with confused cannabis-seekers

    Canada News CTV News
    In the four weeks since marijuana has been legalized, dozens of Montrealers have tried to buy the drug from a neighbourhood florist. They’ve made these attempts in spite of several red flags. For one thing, the shop is clearly no newcomer to the community. Source
  • Ancient Native American artifacts stolen 40 years ago in Alabama recovered

    World News CTV News
    MOUNDVILLE, Ala. -- The recent recovery of three Native American artifacts stolen nearly 40 years ago could be the thread that unravels the mystery of the greatest antiquities theft in this part of the world. Source
  • Fresh rotating postal strikes to cause delivery delays: Canada Post

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Canada Post says its employees will hold more rotating walkouts starting today and warns it will mean delivery delays, particularly in western Canada. The Crown corporation says members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers walked off the job this morning in Toronto and at its distribution centre in Scarborough, Ont. Source
  • Canada Post: Expect delivery delays in latest strikes

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Canada Post says its employees will hold more rotating walkouts starting today and warns it will mean delivery delays, particularly in western Canada. The Crown corporation says members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers walked off the job this morning in Toronto and at its distribution centre in Scarborough, Ont. Source
  • CNN sues Trump administration for taking away reporter's credentials

    World News CBC News
    CNN is suing the Trump administration, demanding that correspondent Jim Acosta's press credentials to cover the White House be returned. The administration revoked them last week following U.S. President Donald Trump's contentious news conference, where Acosta refused to give up a microphone when the president said he didn't want to hear anything more from him. Source
  • Canadian war vet denied access to N.S. veterans hospital

    Canada News CBC News
    A Canadian war veteran is being denied access to a Halifax veterans hospital even though there are empty beds in the facility — all because he wasn't Canadian at the time of his wartime service. Sitting recently in his home in Hubbards, N.S. Source