The five owners and the corporate entity behind the largest dairy farm in Canada were scheduled to plead guilty Friday in provincial court to 16 charges each of causing an animal to continue to be in distress in contravention of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) act.
The Chilliwack Cattle Sales case gained international attention in 2014 after animal rights group Mercy For Animals revealed hidden camera footage of young men punching and kicking cows, also stringing them up with chains.
The case is a matter of “the most egregious cruelty,” according to the Ontario-based vice-president of Mercy for Animals, Krista Hiddema.
“This video is absolutely horrific,” she said. “[It was] some of the most horrific animal abuse that I have ever seen.”
Hiddema said she planned to hold a press conference in Vancouver after the plea on Friday.
Employees Brad Genereux, Travis Keefer, Cody Larson, Jonathan Talbot, Chris Vandyke, Jamie Visser and Lloyd Blackwell along with the company, Chilliwack Cattle Sales (CCS), and the five Kooyman brothers who own CCS all face the charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
On the docket for an intention to plead guilty Dec. 16, is Bradley, Jeffrey, John, Kenneth and Wesley Kooyman.
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.