VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Chilliwack Cattle Sales, one of Canada’s largest dairy operations, entered guilty pleas to three charges under the country’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
Chilliwack Cattle Sales faces C$75,000 for each count of causing an animal continued distress for a total of C$225,000. Additionally, company director Wesley Kooyman pleaded guilty to one count of the same charge and was fined C$75,000. The defense and prosecutors agreed on a sentence, which was accepted by the judge.
The case stems from a 2014 undercover video investigation by Mercy For Animals, an animal welfare organization. The video showed workers kicking, punching and beating cattle with chains, rakes and other objects. In a statement, Kooyman said the video served as a wake-up call for the company.
“We acknowledge at the time our training and supervision were not adequate to prevent the inexcusable actions,” he said. “Therefore we took immediate action to deal with the employees that were involved, added 24-hour camera monitoring of our barns, and revised our protocols and training programs.”
Other measures taken by the company included hiring a full-time human resource employee to ensure consistency in hiring, training, supervising and evaluating employees. Staff and family members that work with cattle have undergone specialized training on dairy cattle handling; and the company has set a goal of having a family member or senior manager monitor each shift to ensure proper animal handling.
“On behalf of the Kooyman family, I accept the judgment of the Court and we vow to do everything we can to prevent anything like this from happening again,” Wesley Kooyman said.