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

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.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Grade 2 class of 150 Mile House Elementary attended Cariboo Memorial Hospital with teacher Kirsty Bowers to deliver “kindness” bags full of small gifts to housekeeping staff. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
150 Mile House students deliver gift bags showing appreciation for hospital staff

Students begin Monday morning with a bus trip to Cariboo Memorial Hospital

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
UPDATE: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Older rental apartments are prime candidates for renovations, and could result in lost affordable housing stock. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
B.C.’s renoviction overhaul a good start, but won’t preserve affordable stock, lawyer says

And still no protection for people who can’t pay rent due to COVID-19

Kamloops This Week
Cause of Kamloops landfill fire may never be known

Fire investigators are dealing with too much destruction in too large an area

(Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)
B.C. WHL teams to hit the ice with Kelowna, Kamloops hub cities

Kelowna, Kamloops centres chosen to host B.C. WHL teams for 24-game regular season

The machines are akin to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned to identify its unique vein pattern. (CANADIAN PRESS)
Feds dole out $3.5M for ‘vending machines’ to dispense safer opioids in B.C.

The machines are located in four cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Victoria

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. Tourism businesses have been hardest hit by COVID-19 restrictions on travel. (Destination B.C.)
Tourism, small business getting COVID-19 help, B.C. minister says

$300M grant program has delivered $50 million so far

The incident happened in downtown Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
Castlegar teen recounts stabbing after stranger breaks into grandmother’s house

The unnamed teen survived a terrifying attack Feb. 21

Most Read