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B.C. dairy farm’s licence suspended amid ‘very serious’ animal abuse allegations

A dairy cow is seen in this undated file photo.
A dairy cow is seen in this undated file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Conroy

A Fraser Valley dairy farm has had its licence suspended and is facing an investigation from the BC SPCA over allegations of animal cruelty.

The B.C. Milk Marketing Board said Thursday it had suspended Cedar Valley Farms’ licence, after being notified by the SPCA of possible violations of the province’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle.

Read more: 3 Chilliwack dairy farm workers plead guilty to animal cruelty

The BC SPCA said it began an investigation after receiving video appearing to show “very serious instances of animal abuse” on the farm.

The agency conducted a surprise inspection, and says it is now reviewing more than 300 video clips as it prepares a case for Crown prosecutors.

Some of the video appears to show violations of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and potentially the Criminal Code of Canada, the SPCA said.

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Click to play video: '20 animal cruelty charges laid against Chilliwack Cattle Sales, Ltd.' 20 animal cruelty charges laid against Chilliwack Cattle Sales, Ltd.
20 animal cruelty charges laid against Chilliwack Cattle Sales, Ltd – Mar 2, 2016

“This is a high-priority investigation and we are building a very strong case to present to Crown counsel with a recommendation for charges,” BC SPCA chief prevention and enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty said.

The SPCA is also calling out what it calls a “lack of accountability on commercial farms” and the need for a third-party auditing system, including video monitoring.

Read more: Dozens of charges laid in ‘absolutely sickening’ Chilliwack chicken abuse case

The organization says that while it conducts close to 9,000 investigations per year, it lacks the resources to monitor the province’s 5,000 commercial farms.

In an emailed statement to Global News, Cedar Valley Farms says they are saddened by recent events and are in immediate action to get to the bottom of ‘any activities that differ from animal care commitments.’

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“Staff on our farms are our responsibility for continuous training and oversight, and if we discover that animals are not treated with dignity and care in all stages of their life, it is on us to correct these wrongs,” the company said.

It adds they are cooperating with the BCMMB, the BCDA and SPCA on the case.

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