B.C. tightens rules for care of dairy cattle

National standards adopted after last year's revelations of abuse by employees at a Chilliwack dairy farm

No charges have been laid after a video surfaced last year of abuse of animals at Chilliwack Cattle Sales

The B.C. government is adopting national standards for care of dairy cattle, a measure called for by the SPCA after a video surfaced showing abuse of cows last year at a Chilliwack farm.

The National Dairy Code of Practice covers shelter, feed and water as well as veterinary care and handling practices. It prohibits electric prods, hitting, kicking and shouting when handling cattle.

The code also demands that dairy farms recognize the companionship needs of cattle, and that their barns need adequate lighting and non-slip floors.

Eight employees of Chilliwack Cattle Sales, Canada’s largest dairy farm, were fired last June after a video showed them beating cows with sticks, chains and rakes. The B.C. Milk Marketing Board lifted its ban on milk purchases from the farm after inspecting its operation and imposing monitoring on it.

Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced the adoption of the code at the Cloverdale SPCA shelter Wednesday. He said the specific standards will help industry regulators and judges determine if cruelty to animals has been committed.

The SPCA recommended charges of wilfully causing “unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to animals” against the former Chilliwack employees, but Crown prosecutors have not yet decided on whether to proceed.

Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer of the B.C. SPCA, praised the adoption of the new code.

“We can’t change the past but we can change the present and affect the future,” Moriarty said. “Hopefully we won’t ever see a repeat of what happened last year.”

The B.C. SPCA receives an average of 8,800 cruelty complaints a year. About a quarter of those involve farm animals, but most of those involve treatment of horses. Moriarty said complaints about dairy farms are rare.

Dave Eto, CEO of the B.C. Dairy Association, said he welcomes whistleblowers such as the employee who captured video of the abuse in Chilliwack.

“It’s somewhat self-destructive for a farmer to want to have animal abuse, especially for dairy cows,” Eto said. “an unhappy cow does not produce milk.”

 

Just Posted

37th Annual Gazette Hamper Fund helps make the season bright

Hamper Fund remains more than $9,000 short of its 2017 financial goal

Community support keeps girls hockey alive on the North Island

“A successful program depends on community engagement and support.”

State terminates Cooke’s lease for Port Angeles salmon farm

PORT ANGELES — Meetings are expected to begin this week between the… Continue reading

Environment Canada says snow in the forecast for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for flurries and cold air throughout the next week

Proposed public art installation sparks debate in Victoria

$250,000 sculpture complements an interactive sound element of First Nations drumming and singing

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

B.C. wildfire evacuee admits to setting hotel room fire

A Williams Lake wildfire evacuee admitted to setting Kamloops hotel room on fire

UPDATE: Grizzly bear trophy hunting over in B.C.

Now only Indigenous people can hunt bears for meat

Star Blue Jays announced for Vancouver ‘Winter Tour’ event in January

Toronto’s pro baseball team heads west for two-day event

UPDATE: ‘Multiple fatalities’ as Amtrak derails in Washington State

13 cars jumped the tracks as train made its first voyage between Seattle and Portland

Mental effects of wildfire still linger in Fort McMurray

‘Resilient, but tired:’ Mental effects of wildfire lingering in Fort McMurray

Climate change hits Winter Olympic preparation

AP Exclusive: Climate change hits Winter Olympic preparation

Calgary Flames thump Vancouver Canucks 6-1

Mark Giordano, Sam Bennett lead the way as Flames thump Canucks 6-1

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Most Read