British Columbia

Chilliwack Cattle Sales milk to be destroyed in wake of cow abuse video

Milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sales, the B.C. dairy farm at the centre of an animal abuse scandal, will be destroyed as a result of pressure from milk processors not willing to accept its product.

Farm faces further setbacks as animal welfare concerns affect sales

Saputo would not accept any milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sales 2:35

Milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sales, the B.C. dairy farm at the centre of an animal abuse scandal, will be destroyed as a result of pressure from milk processors not willing to accept its product, the B.C. Milk Marketing Board announced Tuesday.

A press release posted to the board's website states that it has received requests that orders do not include milk from the farm until additional independent audits have been completed.

The board had initially suspended milk pickup from the 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.

"The board will act in accordance with processor requests and due to lack of market, the milk will be destroyed," the release states.

Jeff Kooyman, one of the owners of the family run farm, told CBC News he knew nothing about the decision to destroy the farm's milk, and would not comment at this time.

Animal cruelty charges have been laid against Chilliwack Cattle Sales and seven employees following the release of video shot inside the operation by a former employee. (Mercy For Animals Canada)

The news comes less than 24 hours after Saputo, producer of Dairyland products, said it would no longer accept milk from the farm.

The developments follow the release of an undercover video last week by Mercy for Animals Canada, showing dairy cows being whipped and beaten with chains and canes, as well as punched and kicked, at Canada's largest dairy farm.

It also showed cows suffering from open wounds and injuries, and being lifted by their necks with chains and tractors, which prompted 100,000 people to sign a petition calling for Saputo to take action.

In a statement released Monday, Saputo said it was leading the charge for reform in animal treatment.

"Since Saputo learned of the animal abuse at the farm in British Columbia from which horrific images of cattle mistreatment were captured, the company has used its position as Canada's largest milk processor to ensure the situation is being addressed and that such reprehensible behaviour … does not occur in the future," the statement read.

Jeff Kooyman, one of the owners of the farm at the centre of the abuse scandal, said he had no information about a decision to destroy the farm's milk. (CBC)

The Montreal-based company said it has reached out to the province's minister of agriculture as well as the B.C. Dairy Association, the B.C. Dairy Council and the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board.

"Saputo has taken the lead in bringing industry stakeholders together behind a common goal: to ensure immediate consequences for those involved and enforceable legal measures to prevent future animal abuse," it said.

Saputo also said it supports the recommendation of the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle, published in 2009, be adopted into B.C. law.

With files from Jesse Johnston


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