EDITORIAL: Online vitriol is out of control

Dairy farm file photo. - Paul J. Henderson
Dairy farm file photo.
— image credit: Paul J. Henderson

The price being paid for the cruelty exhibited in a video recently released to the media keeps climbing.

It has already rightly cost the jobs of those who allegedly beat dairy cattle at Chilliwack Cattle Sales, and criminal charges are under review.

But the tally hasn’t stopped there. The reputation of an entire industry, and the thousands of people who work in it, is now being so sullied it is breathtaking.

The anger, hatred and derision displayed in online comments and in social media borders on hysterical.

An online petition spurred dairy behemoth Saputo to force the BC Milk Marketing Board to refuse milk from the farm. Tens of thousands of litres of milk were destroyed before officials said they were satisfied with remedial measures at the farm.

But that penalty isn’t high enough for the online lynch mob. It’s already convicted the eight dairy workers of animal cruelty, as well as the people they worked for.

Now some commenters have branded every dairy farmer in the country as a vicious sadist whose pursuit of profit comes at the cost of the animals in his or her care.

To be clear, the behaviour portrayed in that video is abhorrent.

But so are the actions of those trying to destroy the lives and livelihoods of so many.

To condemn every dairy operation, and maintain that all must pay for the actions of a few is a gross contortion of reasoning and justice.

- Black Press

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