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.