VANCOUVER — Animal cruelty charges have been recommended against eight workers at Canada's largest dairy farm after a video surfaced that shows workers kicking, beating and using chains on cows, the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says.
Mercy for Animals Canada says it shot the undercover video at Chilliwack Cattle Sales in Chilliwack, B.C., in May. The group has made headlines in recent months for videos showing calves in chains being beaten at a factory farm in Quebec as well as chicks being thrown, drowned, scalded to death and ground up alive at a hatchery in Hanover, Ont.
Officials with the SPCA said Criminal Code charges were recommended for willfully causing "unnecessary pain, suffering and injury" after their officers viewed the footage and visited the 3,500-cow farm last week.
"The images in the undercover video are extremely disturbing and highlight an urgent need for better standards to protect farm animals in B.C. from abuse and neglect," chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty said.
Chilliwack Cattle Sales, owned by Ken Kooyman, is co-operating with the investigation, Moriarty said.
In a statement, Kooyman said he was "devastated by the thought" that animals in his farm's care have been harmed. He said he will take steps to ensure "no such incident takes place on our family farm in the future."
The Dairy Farmers of Canada denounced the treatment of the cows as seen in the video.
"I was very upset, disgusted and devastated upon hearing the news. This treatment of animals is intolerable, and not how most people care for their animals. I cannot begin to understand why some people would do this to animals," president Wally Smith said in a statement.
— with files from Christopher Pollon
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