Provincial SPCA spokeswoman, Marcie Moriarty says charges are being recommended after the video, which was taken undercover, showed 8 employees whipping, punching, kicking and beating dairy cows with their feet and fists, chains, canes and rakes.
Dairy Farmers of Canada representatives say the video shows reprehensible, unacceptable activities.
David Taylor, a long time dairy farmer and the Chair of the BC Dairy Association, says while there’s no agency enforcing it, there’s a national code of conduct for dairy farmers.
“We encourage it (national code of conduct); we teach it, demonstrate it all the time to our farmers, but there is not an outside party that reviews that, or at least not an outside person that goes into farms,” explains Taylor. “I grew up on a farm…I’ve always been proud to be a dairy farmer, I wear that everyday and today I’m ashamed.”
At the centre of the scandal is Jeff Kooyman, the owner of Chilliwack Cattle Sales, which runs the Fraser Valley dairy farm with a herd of more than 35-hundred animals.
However, Kooyman sounds just as frustrated and mystified as Taylor.
“We obviously have failed to instill the passion and love that we have from these animals into the employees, I guess you just expect that,” says Kooyman. “Why would anyone hit a cow like that? It’s just unacceptable; we have a zero tolerance for animal abuse on this farm.”
Kooyman later confirmed the eight accused workers have been fired and a new training program is being prepared for remaining staff.
However, officials with the Vancouver Humane Society say the industry should make video surveillance mandatory at all livestock operations.