British Columbia Strengthens Laws Protecting Dairy Cows

An undercover investigation pushes the Canadian province to rewrite their Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.


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British Columbia (BC) Agriculture Minister Norm Letnick announced last month that the Canadian province will adopt a National Dairy Code of Practice to dramatically improve the welfare of dairy cows. The Code requires minimum standards of care for dairy cows, such as adequate feed and water, shelter, and veterinary care, and outlaws unnecessary mutilations and intentional acts of cruelty. Now, in BC, violations of the Code are punishable by fines up to $75,000 and two years’ prison time. The law was passed as the direct result of an undercover investigation by Mercy For Animals (MFA) at the largest dairy factory farm in Canada—Chilliwack Cattle Sales—which has more than 3,500 lactating cows. The video shows workers abuse animals intentionally and maliciously and also spurred Canada’s largest dairy producer Saputo to announce a “zero tolerance” policy toward animal cruelty. Though this is a major victory for the cows and workers on the 500 dairy farms in BC, MFA reminds us that enforcing the law will provide its own challenges and “the best way to help safeguard cows from abuse is to simply leave dairy out of your diet.”