Cows are pictured during an international agricultural exhibition in the outskirts of Minsk June 4, 2014. Farmers and agriculture companies from 14 countries gathered near the Belarussian capital to show their products on Wednesday. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko (BELARUS - Tags: AGRICULTURE ANIMALS SOCIETY)
Eight employees from Chilliwack's Cattle Sales family farm, Canada's largest dairy farm, were sacked from their jobs after a video showing their cruelty to the farm animals erupted. They will likewise face appropriate charges.
BC SPCA got hold of the video from non-profit group Mercy for Animals (MFA) Canada. The undercover video showed the employees used chains, canes, rakes, their booted feet and their fists to viciously whip, punch, kick and beat the dairy cows, including downed and trapped cows who could not escape the abuse.
Marcie Moriarty, the BC SPCA's chief prevention and enforcement officer, said they have recommended Criminal Code charges against the eight employees identified in the video "for willfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to animals."
Lorie Chortyk, a community relations general manager, told the Chilliwack Times on Monday the video disturbed and sickened him.
"This wasn't pushing cows along. These are animals who are trapped being, kicked in the face, being viciously beaten and people laughing. There is nothing in this behaviour that would have been part of a normal farm operation."
Chilliwack Cattle Sales, which supplies milk to brands such as Saputo and Dairyland, owns more than 3,500 animals in the Fraser Valley community, located 100 kilometres east of Vancouver. Earlier, the company said it has suspended the involved employees. But on Monday night it was learned they have been sacked.
Cows stand on a meadow during a training session of Switzerland's national soccer team in the central Swiss town of Weggis May 26, 2014. The swiss national soccer team will prepare for the FIFA Brazil 2014 World Cup in a training camp in Weggis from May 26 to June 1. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (SWITZERLAND - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP ENVIRONMENT)
Jeff Kooyman, co-owner of the farm, said they were devastated by the allegations. "The guys were going crazy. I couldn't imagine how people could do that to animals," Kooyman said.
MFA came up with the video after it contacted an investigator and got the person hired on as an employee at Chilliwack Cattle Sales. The person worked at the farm from May 1 to 30. MFA contacted authorities to inform them of the undercover work.
"This factory farm was chosen completely randomly, which leads us to believe that cruelty and violence runs rampant in the dairy industry," Twyla Francois, MFA director of investigations, told the Chilliwack Times. "Before joining Mercy For Animals Canada, I conducted investigations into Canada's dairy industry and was horrified by what I saw-emaciated, sick, injured, and even animals unable to stand on their own, were routinely brought to livestock auctions in clear violation of the law. The livestock auction industry even had a term for these cows: C3, which stands for clunkers, canners and cripples."
Warning: The video (here) contains graphic footage.