More than 90,000 people have signed an online petition calling for dairy companies to take action after disturbing video surfaced showing workers abusing cows at a B.C. dairy farm.
The change.org petition was launched by Mercy for Animals Canada after it released undercover video last week showing workers physically abusing cows at Chilliwack Cattle Sales, which describes itself as Canada's largest dairy farm and supplies brands including Saputo and Dairyland.
The petition urges Saputo to adopt an animal welfare policy for its dairies including zero tolerance for animal abuse; proper treatment of sick and injured animals; and video monitoring systems streamed live online.
The petition threatens a boycott if Saputo doesn't comply.
- Chilliwack Cattle Sales milk pick-up suspended over video
- Chilliwack Cattle Sales to fire 8 workers caught on tape abusing cows
- Chilliwack Cattle Sales owners previously investigated for injured cattle, E. coli
The undercover video from the non-profit group Mercy for Animals Canada — shot by an activist posing as an employee of the farm — showed dairy cows being whipped and beaten with chains and canes, as well as punched and kicked.
It showed cows suffering from open wounds and injuries, and being lifted by their necks with chains and tractors.
The operation fired the eight employees involved
In the wake of the video, the B.C. Milk Marketing Board suspended milk pick-up from the B.C. farm, but reinstated it a day later following a report from veterinarians and assurances from Chilliwack Cattle Sales it was complying with B.C. SPCA orders.
Mercy for Animals has said the company failed to provide adequate training or respond to the concerns raised by its undercover member before the video's release.
It rejected claims by farm co-owner Jeff Kooyman that none of the owners knew about the abuse.
B.C. SPCA enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty said Chilliwack Cattle Sales has so far been cooperating with its investigation. The B.C. SPCA is recommending charges of animal cruelty against the eight employees.
Kooyman says his farm has zero tolerance for animal abuse and promised it would be installing cameras in the barns and retraining staff.
In 2008, Chilliwack Cattle Sales was cleared of charges relating to the transport of injured cows.