Animal Justice is releasing shocking new video footage that shows a pattern of abuse and cruelty at an organic dairy farm in Abbotsford, British Columbia.
The footage was shot in 2021 at Cedar Valley, an organic dairy farm, and was sent anonymously to Animal Justice. The videos reveal a staggering level of prolonged animal abuse and other suffering, including:
- Multiple workers violently beating cows with canes, wrenches, and pitchforks; hitting, kicking, and shouting at cows; spraying hoses in their faces; and slamming metal gates on them.
- Newborn calves ripped away from their mothers, dragged away, and tossed into wheelbarrows—while the mother cows cry out and desperately chase after their babies.
- Cows limping, and cows who appear to be severely emaciated.
- Downed cows dragged roughly through the barn by heavy machinery.
- Botched attempts at euthanizing cows by shooting them multiple times in the head, with cows dying slowly over the course of several minutes.
Animal Justice turned the footage over to the BC SPCA, which is in charge of animal cruelty investigations in British Columbia. The BC SPCA plans to recommend criminal and provincial charges to address the multiple instances of unlawful abuse.
Cedar Valley is owned by Cedarwal Farms, which is owned by the Vanderwal family. This includes veterinarian Rich Vanderwal, who was the veterinarian overseeing Chilliwack Cattle Sales—a massive nearby dairy farm that was exposed for horrific abuse in a highly-publicized whistleblower exposé in 2014. This shocked the nation and led to animal cruelty convictions, jail time, and fines for the company and workers.
There’s a common misperception that organic dairy farms offer a better life for animals, but conditions on organic farms can still be miserable.
Whether organic or conventional, dairy farms and other farms operate in almost total secrecy, with almost no regulations governing animal welfare, and with no government welfare inspections. Even apart from the shocking beatings that were caught on camera at Cedar Valley and Chilliwack Cattle Sales, standard practices on dairy farms still subject gentle cows to heartbreaking suffering. This includes forcibly impregnating mother cows so they will produce milk, taking their babies away right after birth so their milk can be sold, and breeding cows to produce unnatural levels of milk, which puts enormous strain on their bodies. Once their milk production declines after just a few years, mother cows are slaughtered at a fraction of their natural age.
The calves who are taken from their mothers also experience a life of misery. The male calves are usually sold to the veal industry, often living their short lives alone in tiny crates before being slaughtered. Meanwhile, female calves are forced to endure the same cycle of heartbreak and cruelty as their mothers.
There have been over a dozen undercover exposés at Canadian farms in the past decade—all of which have shown horrific cruelty. Yet the government has done almost nothing to improve protections for farmed animals. In Canada, there are almost no legal standards of care for animals on farms, and no proactive government inspections to monitor conditions on farms. Canadian farms regularly crowd cows, pigs, and chickens in filthy conditions indoors, denying these sentient animals everything that makes life worth living.
Please take urgent action now to call on governments across the country to address the crisis of suffering on Canadian farms. Join us in calling for strong new farmed animal protection laws and regular public inspections, and mandatory cameras in farms and slaughterhouses that are be live-streamed to the internet, so the public can see the unfiltered reality of how animals are treated behind the closed doors of farms.
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