VANCOUVER- Saputo, a producer of Dairyland products, has released a statement saying they are no longer accepting milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sales, following the release of a video showing now former employees kicking and beating cows at the farm.
“Since Saputo learned of the animal abuse at the farm in British Columbia (B.C.) from which horrific images of cattle mistreatment were captured, the company has used its position as Canada’s largest milk processor to ensure the situation is being addressed and that such reprehensible behaviour, which offends not only Saputo’s values but also those of its consumers and customers, does not occur in the future,” Saputo said in a release.
They have also reached out to the BC Minister of Agriculture, the BC Dairy Association, the BC Dairy Council and the BC Farm Industry Review Board.
The video first surfaced one week ago and the BC SPCA has recommended Criminal Code charges against the eight former employees identified in the video.
Saputo says they support the recommendation of the BC SPCA that the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle, published in 2009, be adopted into B.C. law.
Thousands of people have signed an online petition urging Saputo to take immediate action to prevent further abuse by its suppliers.
“To set the record straight, Saputo does not own or operate any dairy farms in British Columbia, or anywhere else in Canada,” the company said in the statement. “Like all dairy processors in Canada, Saputo is required by law to purchase milk from the provincial milk marketing boards. While we do not own the farms, we care deeply about the way the milk we sell is produced. We will not accept milk from the BC Milk Marketing Board supplied by this farm until we are fully satisfied that strict animal welfare practices are in place.”
In response, Chilliwack Cattle said “We want to remain an open book to the public and our industry and will do whatever it takes to restore their faith.”
“We would like to extend an open invitation to Saputo to come and view the farm and level of animal care for themselves,” said Jeff Kooyman of Chilliwack Cattle Sales in a statement.
“This is a family farm started in the 1950s and we care deeply for our animals. We would love the opportunity to show this to Saputo and what measures have been put in place to ensure animal welfare.”
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