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Chilliwack Cattle Sales milk to be destroyed

This still from a video produced by animal rights organization Mercy for Animals at Chilliwack Cattle Sales shows a man repeatedly kicking a helpless cow in the head. - Mercy For Animals video
This still from a video produced by animal rights organization Mercy for Animals at Chilliwack Cattle Sales shows a man repeatedly kicking a helpless cow in the head.
— image credit: Mercy For Animals video

Milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sales will be destroyed as Montreal-based dairy giant Saputo has refused to receive the product, and the BC Milk Marketing Board says there is no other market.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Board said it is "concerned" with Saputo's announcement that it would refused CCS milk, but it will comply with the request.

The Board very briefly suspended milk pickup at the farm last week due to "concern for the ethical treatment of animals."

A notice was issued June 12, but the next day the Board received advice from a veterinarian and confirmation from Chilliwack Cattle Sales that the animals would be cared for properly.

Saputo, however, announced Monday it would no longer accept CCS milk.

"Since Saputo learned of the animal abuse at the farm in British Columbia 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 . . . does not occur in the future," Saputo said in a statement Monday.

Through a public relations firm, the Kooymans responded late Monday.

“We would like to extend an open invitation to Saputo to come and view the farm and level of animal care for themselves,” Jeff Kooyman said. “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.”

The Board said it is concerned with Saputo's announcement given the provisions it has put in place to ensure animal welfare is monitored at the Praire Central Road operation.

"The Board continues to monitor animal welfare at Chilliwack Cattle Sales," a statement said Tuesday. "[T]he Board has been satisfied by a responsible authority that animal welfare issues are being addressed at Chilliwack Cattle Sales."

The Board did, however, say it would comply with Saputo's request.

"The Board has received requests from processors that milk orders do not include milk deliveries from Chilliwack Cattle Sales until the additional independent audits have been completed. The Board will act in accordance with processor requests and due to lack of market, the milk will be destroyed."

Eight employees were fired from CCS after a video was released by the vegan-lifestyle promoting organization Mercy For Animals (MFA) that showed hitting, punching, kicking and hanging of cows.

Lorie Chortyk of the BC SPCA said she has seen a lot of disturbing animal abuse videos, but "I have seen nothing that sickened me like this."

Crown counsel is currently considering criminal charges against the eight employees who were fired.

An online petition asking Saputo to monitor animal welfare at its producers has received more than 100,000 signatures, and the story has received national attention.

There has also been a backlash to the boycott, as local hobby farmer Danica Callaghan created a Facebook page called "Support Chilliwack Cattle Sales," and it received 1,200 likes in just 72 hours.

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