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HISTORIC VICTORY! Workers at Canada’s Largest Dairy Factory Farm Jailed for Animal Cruelty

For the first time in Canadian history, three former dairy
workers were sentenced to jail for malicious animal abuse after an undercover
investigation by an animal protection organization. Earlier today, Jamie Visser, Chris Vandyke, and
Travis Keefer were each sentenced to serve jail time for violating the British Columbia
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Wildlife Act by the Honourable Justice
Gary Cohen of the Chilliwack Law Court. Visser and Vandyke were each sentenced
to serve 60 days in jail, and they are prohibited from having custody or control
of any animal for three years. Keefer was sentenced to seven days in jail, and
he is prohibited from having custody or control of any animal for a year. Their
jail time begins today.
Today’s landmark sentences followed convictions stemming
from a Mercy For Animals undercover investigation at Chilliwack Cattle Sales,
the largest dairy factory farm in Canada. Video footage shows the three
defendants viciously beating and sadistically torturing animals. The defendants
pleaded guilty to a total of 18 counts of animal cruelty and three counts of
molesting a bird.
Watch the footage that led to these convictions here:
These sentences mark the first time workers at a Canadian
factory farm have been jailed for animal cruelty as a result of hidden-camera
footage obtained by an animal protection organization. Last December, in
another historic
, Chilliwack Cattle Sales and its owner Wesley Kooyman were
convicted of animal cruelty and ordered to pay fines totaling almost $350,000.
Four workers were also charged. Their cases are set for trial later this month.
At the time of the investigation, Chilliwack Cattle Sales
was a major supplier to Saputo, the largest dairy processor in Canada. After
discussions with MFA, Saputo adopted a new animal welfare policy for its global
dairy supply chain that requires zero tolerance for malicious animal cruelty;
elimination of painful tail docking; administration of pain control when
dehorning cattle; and low-energy animal handling to reduce stress, especially
for non-ambulatory cows.
The investigation also prompted British Columbia’s
agricultural minister, Norm Letnick, to amend the BC Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals Act to incorporate the Dairy Code of Practice. The Dairy Code of
Practice outlines minimum guidelines concerning the treatment and welfare of
cows on Canada’s dairies. MFA is calling on all provinces, including British Columbia,
to give the Dairy Code of Practice the force of law in their provincial animal
cruelty legislation. Giving the code the force of law will require the dairy
industry to follow basic minimum standards for animal welfare.
The historic sentences issued today should send a strong
message that animal abuse, which runs rampant in the dairy industry, will not
be tolerated. Ultimately, the best thing that we can do to protect cows and all
animals from needless suffering and violence is to choose a healthy and humane
vegan diet. Click here for
ideas on how to go dairy-free!