Man guilty of abusing cows at Chilliwack dairy farm faces 35 days jail

Jonathan Talbot the sixth of seven convicted in the high-profile case of cattle abuse

The sixth of seven men convicted of abusing cows at Chilliwack Cattle Sales pleaded guilty in court on Sept. 6.

The sixth of seven men convicted of abusing cows at Chilliwack Cattle Sales pleaded guilty in court on Sept. 6.

Another of the seven men caught on undercover video abusing cows at a Chilliwack dairy farm pleaded guilty in court Wednesday morning.

Jonathan Talbot is facing 35 days in jail for three convictions in connection with the high-profile Chilliwack Cattle Sales undercover videos from 2014.

Talbot was involved in eight incidents of abuse caught on video and audio shot by an undercover employee working for animal rights activist group Mercy for Animals (MFA) in 2014.

In Chilliwack provincial court on Sept. 6, Crown showed the seven short video clips proving the abuse in contravention of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) act. In four of those videos Talbot is seen hitting cows with a hard cane on the head and the body, as well as jamming his knee into its spine.

In three of the videos Talbot is seen not intervening as other employees abused animals, itself a violation of the PCA.

And in an eighth video he is seen using a high-pressure hose to spray water at a pigeon.

“Soaked pigeons cannot fly,” Crown counsel Jim MacAulay said.

For that he pleaded guilty to one count under the Wildlife Act for “molesting a pigeon.”

MacAulay and Talbot’s lawyer Carl Arnason presented the court with a joint submission on sentencing of 35 days in jail. Twenty days for the animal abuse, 10 days for not intervening in abuse, and five days for the wildlife abuse.

They also asked for a two-year prohibition on owning or having custody of large animals for remuneration.

A decision on the sentence is scheduled for Sept. 26.

After the sentencing hearing, Mercy for Animals issued a press release that said the cruelty prompted then BC agricultural minister Norm Letnick to amend the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to incorporate the Dairy Code of Practice, something the non-profit animal rights organization says should be implemented nationwide.

“There is no excuse for animal abuse,” MFA vice-president Krista Hiddema said. “The best way to address animal cruelty is to prevent it. We’re asking all Canadian provinces to create a united front against the rampant animal abuse in the dairy industry. Cruelty and neglect will plague Canada’s farms until the Dairy Code of Practice is given the force of law in every province.”

The sentencing hearing Sept. 6 is the latest in the long saga of the case of animal abuse at the largest dairy farm in Canada, Chilliwack Cattle Sales.

In June, Cody Larson was sentenced to 20 days jail and given a $4,000 fine and a one-year ban on caring for large animals. Lloyd Blackwell was given a $7,000 fine and a three-year ban on caring for animals.

In May, Travis Keefer was sentenced to seven days jail and he is forbidden from being in care or control of animals for one year. Chris Vandyke and Jamie Visser were sentenced to 60 days jail and are banned from being in care of control of animals for three years.

Crown is appealing that sentence, telling the court it is satisfied there were errors of law and the public interest requires an appeal. The allegation is that the sentencing judge put too much emphasis on how many seconds each instance of abuse lasted rather than the sheer number of instances.

That appeal is scheduled for Nov. 14, and Visser and Vandyke are cross-appealing.

The company, Chilliwack Cattle Sales, and one director were also charged in the case. They pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay $345,000 in fines in December 2016.

Last up of the seven sentences is Brad Genereux who is due in court on Oct. 4 to hear his fate.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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