The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Abuse of cattle at B.C. dairy farm prompts industry 'disgust,' calls for reform

  • Print

VANCOUVER - The owner of a British Columbia dairy farm where staff were captured on video beating and abusing cattle said he is shocked and saddened by what he saw happening in his own barn.

Jeff Kooyman said Tuesday that undercover video filmed at his Chilliwack Cattle Sales Ltd. is "horrifying to watch."

"Until you've actually seen it, I never could have imagined it being that horrific," Kooyman said in an interview. "That's not us. We have zero tolerance for animal abuse on this farm."

Chilliwack Cattle fired eight employees after the group Mercy for Animals Canada took the video to authorities.

The British Columbia SPCA has recommended criminal charges against the former employees. Charges have not yet been laid and the allegations have not been proven in court.

Kooyman said he doesn't know what got into the young men seen kicking, punching and beating the animals with pipes and chains.

"We expected more," Kooyman said after opening his farm to media on Tuesday.

The dairy operation — the country's largest, with more then 3,500 animals — will put in security cameras that will be monitored and they're working with SPCA on better training for staff, he said.

Wally Smith, head of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said he too was disgusted by what he saw on the videotape.

And Dave Taylor, chairman of the B.C. Dairy Association, called the incident a black mark on the industry.

"Having witnessed the footage, we are deeply shaken," Taylor said. "Organizationally, we will be taking proactive steps to further our already strong animal care practices."

There is zero tolerance for such actions, he said.

"We feel it vital to assert that this abuse is in no way common practice in our industry," Taylor said.

But the incident prompted several calls for greater scrutiny.

The Vancouver Humane Society said there should be random inspections and mandatory video surveillance of livestock operations.

Anna Pippus of Mercy for Animals, called the treatment sadistic.

She said the undercover employee went to a supervisor and no action was taken. However, a video of the exchange shows someone identified as Brad Kooyman expressing dismay that an employee was hitting the cows.

"Watch for that and make sure nobody hits them unnecessarily," Brad Kooyman tells the employee, whose identity was not disclosed.

Pippus said it wasn't until the undercover video made headlines that the company took action.

"Without our investigation this cruelty would have continued to run rampant indefinitely," she said at a news conference.

The group called on government to create standards specific to farm animals and to be proactive in enforcing them with third-party inspections. Currently, general animal cruelty laws rely on complaints to spur investigation.

It also wants dairy producers to install video monitoring. Chilliwack Cattle said it planned to do so, but Mercy for Animals wants that video streamed on the Internet so public can see the factory floor.

Veterinarian David Dykshorn said he is at the Kooyman farm two or three times a week and has never seen evidence of abuse.

The SPCA said the incident shows a need for better standards to protect farm animals in the province. That call was echoed by the Vancouver Humane Society and Mercy for Animals.

Pippus said the farm was chosen at random, the sixth random undercover investigation at industrial animal farms by her group. Each time they're captured abuse, she said.

"The dairy industry and all animal agriculture have already proven that they're incapable of self-regulation," Pippus said.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Body pulled from river is missing 15-year-old girl

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • An American White Pelican takes flight from the banks of the Red River in Lockport, MB. A group of pelicans is referred to as a ‘pod’ and the American White Pelican is the only pelican species to have a horn on its bill. May 16, 2012. SARAH O. SWENSON / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • The sun peers through the fog to illuminate a tree covered in hoar frost near Headingley, Manitoba Thursday- Standup photo- February 02, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the new Blue Bombers uniforms?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google