The BC SPCA is conducting an investigation into allegations of animal cruelty at a Fraser Valley dairy farm.
“Last week, SPCA received video footage that appears to be depicting very serious instances of animal abuse on this farm,” says Marcie Moriarty, the BC SPCA’s chief prevention and enforcement officer. “We immediately attended the farm on an unannounced visit and are reviewing more than 300 video clips as we prepare our case to present to Crown counsel.”
Moriarty says some of the images on the video appear to be in violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and potentially the Criminal Code of Canada. “This is a high-priority investigation and we are building a very strong case to present to Crown counsel with a recommendation for charges,” she says.
In addition to the investigation, the BC SPCA is strongly speaking out against the government and industry’s lack of action to protect animals on commercial farms in B.C.
“The BC SPCA is extremely concerned about the lack of accountability on commercial farms and has reached out repeatedly to the provincial government and industry for more than a year about the need for a third-party auditing system on farms to ensure that proper animal welfare practices are being upheld,” says BC SPCA chief executive officer Craig Daniell. “This would include video monitoring on farms with a third-party system of reviewing footage.”
Daniell says the lack of response by both government and industry to protect commercially raised animals has been extremely frustrating. “Despite repeated calls for action, there has been none and animals are continuing to suffer.”
While the BC SPCA has utilized its inspection powers under the PCA Act to make unannounced visits to farms, Daniell notes that the resources required to pro-actively audit more than 5,000 commercial farms in B.C. is far beyond the scope of the non-profit organization.
“The responsibility to implement a pro-active, third-party assurance system on all commercial farms lies squarely with government and industry – and it is absolutely unacceptable that they have not taken action,” says Daniell. “Our 40 donor-funded officers carry out nearly 9,000 investigations into suspected animal cruelty and neglect across B.C. each year, but unless government and industry step up to do their part these abuses on B.C. farms will continue. This most recent case highlights the huge gaps in accountability that exist on commercial farms and the need for immediate action.”