Dairy cow cruelty case should embarrass government

Screen show from video. (Assoc. for Mercy)

Screen shot from video. (Mercy for Animals Canada)

WEDNESDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — “Anger” is just about the only word that comes close to one’s natural reaction to this week’s story about the cruelty to milk cows by employees of a Chillwack dairy farm.

A video shows the employees beating cows and even hanging them with chains, using the hydraulic lift of a tractor.

The owners of the farm have expressed shock that their employees would do such a thing, and has fired them. The B.C. SPCA is pressing for Criminal Code cruelty charges for wilfully causing “unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to animals.”

The SPCA says it sent constables to the farm last week along with a veterinarian to investigate based on an undercover video by the non-profit group Mercy for Animals Canada that showed employees using chains, canes, rakes, boots and fists to whip, punch, kick and beat the cows, “including downed and trapped cows who could not escape the abuse.”

An editorial is supposed to set out an issue and then propose a solution. In this case, it’s hard to know what to say. How anyone could be so devoid of humanity to inflict the kind of cruelty depicted in the video defies explanation.

But there’s at least one thing that can be done. Marcy Moriarty of the B.C. SPCA says a Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle was published in 2009 but has yet to be adopted into law in this province. The code covers everything from proper housing to space, feeding and veterinary care.

Moriarty says the SPCA is committed to working with the B.C. government and the B.C. Dairy Association to ensure humane treatment of farm animals. “It is important that producers have clear expectations around standards of care for farm animals and that there is a system in place to  monitor and enforce these standards.”

Today, the government and the dairy association should feel a little embarrassed and at least a bit ashamed that the code of practice, which has been adopted in several other provinces, still isn’t set into law in B.C.

About Mel Rothenburger (7581 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on Dairy cow cruelty case should embarrass government

  1. Carole Gilis // June 13, 2014 at 10:20 AM // Reply

    As long as consumers demand lower prices for food and a smaller percentage of our income going to our food budgets, then industry will hire the cheapest labour and push animals to maximum production. Although not true of everyone (and if it’s not true of you, then please don’t take offence), but how many who are outraged by this are willing to pay the premium for organic or cruelty-free dairy and meat products?

  2. Shirley Sanderson // June 11, 2014 at 7:44 PM // Reply

    Given the opportunity will any human become a deviant or does opportunity attract the deviant? …ss

  3. Peter Sharp // June 11, 2014 at 7:06 PM // Reply

    I have viewed the video clips shown on Global National News, and to say the least, I can’t believe that people can be so cruel to helpless animals. Not only do they deserve to be charged criminally, but also, they deserve a term of imprisonment. Only then will they understand the seriousness of their inconsiderate attitude and cruelty to helpless dumb animals!

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