The B.C. Dairy Association says the industry has enough oversight already, despite calls from the B.C. SPCA for the creation of an independent regulatory body for dairy farms. 

The calls for more regulation come after 20 counts of animal cruelty were laid against Chilliwack Cattle Sales, one of Canada's largest dairy farms, and seven of its employees earlier this week.

None of the charges has been proven in court.

But the industry has more than enough incentive to prevent animal abuse in its farms, said Trevor Hargreaves, spokesperson for the B.C. Dairy Association.

Trevor Hargreaves B.C. Dairy Association

Trevor Hargreaves, a spokesperson for the B.C. Dairy Association, says the industry is well-regulated and works with the SPCA to investigate any complaints about animal abuse in farms. (Charlie Cho/CBC)

"If there is a farm that is mistreating animals in this province, that's a massive liability to this industry," he said.

"We are as concerned about making sure that animals are absolutely well treated, as the public and government is."

Allegations of cruelty against Chilliwack Cattle Sales first surfaced in June 2014 when the non-profit group Mercy for Animals Canada released a video shot by a former employee of the farm showing dairy cows being whipped and beaten with chains and canes, as well as punched and kicked.

Industry regulation

The B.C. Milk Marketing Board is the industry's regulatory body, but it also represents producers and processors, and reports indirectly to the government, said Hargreaves.

"They are beholden to the farm industry review board …  and the farm industry review board, in turn, reports to the provincial government."

The B.C Dairy Association also works directly with the SPCA on any complaints about the treatment of farm animals, an agreement that was in the works before the video of employees in Chilliwack Cattle Sales surfaced, according to Hargreaves.

"We in no way have an antagonistic relationship. It is more along the lines of direct collaboration," he said.

"If there's any complaint to the SPCA, they immediately come to us and we investigate in a joint manner."​

To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: Dairy Association says there's enough oversight.