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

  • Saudi ceasefire takes effect in Yemen, no word from Houthis

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- A ceasefire proposed by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen went into effect Thursday, potentially paving the way for an end to the more than 5-year-old conflict. Saudi officials announced late on Wednesday that the ceasefire would last for two weeks and that it comes in response to UN calls to halt hostilities amid the coronavirus pandemic. Source
  • U.K. braces for more virus deaths; Johnson reported stable

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britons braced Thursday for several more weeks in lockdown as Prime Minister Boris Johnson remained in a London hospital after three nights in intensive care for treatment of his coronavirus infection. The British government said Wednesday evening that the prime minister was making "steady progress" at St. Source
  • Prince William and Kate video call children at school to boost morale

    World News CTV News
    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spread some Easter cheer to pupils and teachers at one primary school in the U.K. when they dialed in for a video call while the country is on lockdown. Source
  • Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and the world on Thursday

    World News CBC News
    The latest:Trudeau says physical distancing has been 'effective' but it's not clear when pandemic will peak.Canada's two major airlines — WestJet and Air Canada — are making use of a federal wage subsidy plan to hire back thousands of workers. Source
  • Half billion more people face poverty due to virus: Oxfam

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Around half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic unless richer countries take “urgent action” to help developing nations, a leading aid organization warned Thursday. Source
  • Without 'urgent action,' half a billion will be pushed into poverty, report warns

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Around half a billion people could be pushed into poverty as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic unless richer countries take "urgent action" to help developing nations, a leading aid organization warned Thursday. Source
  • Atomic bomb tests help reveal age of world's biggest fish

    World News CBC News
    Scientists have figured out how to calculate the age of whale sharks — Earth's largest fish — with some guidance from the radioactive fallout spawned by Cold War-era atomic bomb testing. By measuring levels of carbon-14, a naturally occurring radioactive element that also is a by-product of nuclear explosions, the researchers determined that distinct bands present inside the shark's cartilaginous vertebrae are formed annually, like a tree's growth rings. Source
  • New York's coronavirus outbreak came from Europe and other parts of the United States, study shows

    World News CTV News
    A Mount Sinai study shows the first cases of coronavirus in New York City most likely originated in Europe and other parts of the United States, the health system said. With more than 80,000 cases and 4,260 coronavirus deaths, according to the city's website, New York is one of the major epicenters for the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Source
  • New White House press secretary downplayed pandemic threat, said Democrats were rooting for coronavirus

    World News CTV News
    New White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus in comments made in February and March, a CNN KFile review has found. In radio and television appearances, McEnany, in her role as spokeswoman for U.S. Source
  • People needing addiction services feeling 'abandoned' during pandemic

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's former provincial health officer says he has "grave concerns" about reduced services because of COVID-19 for people struggling with drug addiction, while the manager of a supervised consumption site in Toronto says people are feeling abandoned. Source