B.C. farm responds to animal cruelty allegations as hidden camera video emerges

Warning: The details and images associated with this story may be disturbing to some readers and viewers.

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. — A dairy farm has responded to allegations of animal cruelty after the B.C. company’s dairy licence was suspended, pending an investigation.

The B.C. Milk Marketing Board announced last week it suspended the licence of Cedar Valley Farms in Abbotsford after it was provided information regarding violations to the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle, and following a subsequent inspection of the farm.

Video obtained of the farm has also prompted a B.C. SPCA investigation. The footage, filmed anonymously, was first sent to Animal Justice, a national animal law advocacy organization.

The video shows a worker with a cane repeatedly beating a dairy cow in the face. Another cow is seen being picked up and dragged by its hind legs by a heavy piece of machinery. Numerous other animals are seen being kicked and beaten.

Holger Schwichtenberg, chair of the B.C. Dairy Association, said the video was “difficult to watch” and that he believes some of the actions constitute abuse.

“As a dairy farmer my whole life, what I saw in those videos was upsetting,” Schwichtenberg said. “The beating of cows, moving cows with the hip lifter, the rough handling treatment of calves, that’s all against the accepted code of practice that’s spelled out to every dairy farmer.”

Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer of the B.C. SPCA, described the behaviour as “completely unacceptable.”

CTV News made multiple attempts to contact Cedar Valley Farms, but its owners declined an interview. Instead, the company emailed a statement on Friday.

“As a farm and as a family, we have long taken a stand that animal care and animal welfare are very important to us,” the statement said, in part. “We are very saddened by recent events and are in immediate action to get to the bottom of any activities that differ from our animal care commitments.”

The company also questioned how the video was obtained.

“We reserve further comment here as we support the work of all industry bodies, and the ongoing police investigation involving trespass, breaking and entering and illegal activity including animal harm by the trespassers related to this story on our farm,” the statement said.

Const. Paul Walker with the Abbotsford Police Department confirms Cedar Valley Farms contacted APD to report a break-and-enter late last month, three days after the company’s dairy licence was suspended. There is now an open investigation.

“Although the break-and-enter was reported to us on Oct. 30, we are looking back through CCTV to confirm dates that the farm had been broken into,” Const. Walker wrote in an email.

Asked about the allegations of “animal harm by the trespassers,” Walker said if any evidence related to those claims surfaces, it will be referred to the B.C. SPCA.

“At this time we are investigating this incident as a break-and-enter, looking at all evidence that’s available to us,” he said.

With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Allison Hurst and CTVNews.ca’s Anthony Vasquez-Peddie

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