Milk pickup resumes at Chilliwack farm

Industry vows to rebuild public trust after video of animal abuse triggers outrage

Milk pickup has resumed at a Chilliwack farm under fire for animal abuse, but a BC dairy industry official said there is still has work to do to rebuild the public’s trust.

The BC Dairy Association (BCDA) announced Friday afternoon that milk giant Saputo was no longer refusing to accept milk deliveries from Chilliwack Cattle Sales (CCS), which has been under fire since an undercover video of animal abuse was released earlier this month.

“Dairy producers including Saputo, through the BC Dairy Council, have approved that all the required measures have now been taken by CCS to effectively resume distribution of milk,” BCDA chief executive officer Dave Eto said. Those measures include monitoring of animal treatment, improved supervision and ongoing education.

Saputo had asked to stop receiving milk from the farm earlier this week after 90,000 people signed an online petition calling for a boycott. The BC Milk Marketing Board said Saputo’s request forced it to destroy the milk, which was done by dumping it into an anaerobic digester.

That move triggered its own petition and calls of dismay from a public unsettled by the disposal of food.

With the situation at CCS apparently resolved to the satisfaction of both dairy producers and the SPCA, attention will turn towards making sure such a situation doesn’t occur in the future.

“The past few weeks have been a dark time for the BC dairy industry,” the BCDA said in its release.

Eto said farmers were shocked by the video and know that the public’s confidence in the dairy industry has been shaken.

“It has coalesced our efforts to improve animal welfare,” Eto said. “You can’t take anything for granted in this world.”

He said the industry will be looking to strengthen animal welfare protection measures and make it easier to apply penalties to those who break animal welfare rules.

“It’s about regaining consumer trust,” he said.