BY: PAUL J. HENDERSON, BLACK PRESS
Friday morning a Chilliwack court watched video clips of young men kicking, punching and otherwise violently abusing cows at a dairy farm in 2014.
“This is more fun than milking,” one young man is heard saying in a video that depicts him hitting a cow with a cane.
“I just hit that cow like 50 f–ing times,” said another.
The videos were the main exhibit in the sentencing hearing for Chilliwack Cattle Sales and one company director.
The charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCAA) came as a result of undercover videos filmed by animal welfare group Mercy For Animals between April 30, 2014 and June 1, 2014.
The company and four of the Kooyman brothers who act as directors each faced 20 charges under the PCAA. This was later reduced to 16 charges, and in court Friday, Wesley Kooyman pleaded guilty to one charge on the file.
There to represent the company, Kenneth Kooyman pleaded guilty to three charges.
Crown counsel Jim MacAulay and defence lawyer Leonard Doust issued a joint submission of a $75,000 fine for each of the three charges CCS pleaded to, and a $75,000 for the one Wesley Kooyman pleaded to.
CCS will also be ordered to pay a victim fine surcharge of $33,750 and Wesley $11,250.
The court heard how MFA volunteer “Matthew” applied to various dairy farms in the area. He began work at CCS on the night shift on April 30, 2014 when he started filming undercover videos.
He was told the basics of the job, shown where the coffee maker was, but did not receive animal welfare training nor did he see a company handbook.
“[The Kooymans] were in a position to prevent certain activities and failed to do so,” MacAulay told the court.
Other incidents show to the court included: a man swinging a chain with a hook into the back of a downed cow over and over; someone ripping tail hair out of a cow on the rotary milking parlour; a cow being lifted by its neck with a chain attached to a tractor.
“This video is absolutely horrific,” Ontario-based vice-president of Mercy for Animals, Krista Hiddema said. “[It was] some of the most horrific animal abuse that I have ever seen.”
Employees Brad Genereux, Travis Keefer, Cody Larson, Jonathan Talbot, Chris Vandyke, Jamie Visser and Lloyd Blackwell were all charged.
At an appearance in September, a 12-day trial for most of the men was scheduled starting May 29, 2017, with a pre-trial conference six weeks before that.
Visser, VanDyke and Keefer, however, are scheduled to plead guilty April 13, 2017.
The pre-trial conference for Talbot, Larson, Genereux and Blackwell is scheduled for April 10 with the trial to run 12 days, May 29, 30, 31, June 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14 and 15.
The sentencing hearing is set to wrap up later on Friday.