Following public outcry over animal abuse at a Chilliwack factory farm, Canadian dairy giant Saputo has issued a response. On July 9, Mercy for Animals Canada released a video that showed eight employees at Chilliwack Cattle Sales whipping, kicking, and punching cows. The Chilliwack farm is Canada’s largest dairy operator and supplies milk to Saputo.
“Since Saputo learned of the animal abuse at the farm in British Columbia from which horrific images of cattle mistreatment were captured, the company has used its position as Canada’s largest milk processor to ensure the situation is being addressed and that such reprehensible behaviour, which offends not only Saputo's values but also those of its consumers and customers, does not occur in the future,” reads a statement made by Saputo Inc. on June 16.
Saputo has announced that it is no longer accepting milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sales and has reached out to the B.C. Minister of Agriculture, the B.C. Dairy Association, the B.C. Dairy Council, and the B.C. Farm Industry Review Board to discuss industry reform.
“To set the record straight, Saputo does not own or operate any dairy farms in British Columbia, or anywhere else in Canada,” the news release stated. “Like all dairy processors in Canada, Saputo is required by law to purchase milk from the provincial milk marketing boards. While we do not own the farms, we care deeply about the way the milk we sell is produced. We will not accept milk from the BC Milk Marketing Board supplied by this farm until we are fully satisfied that strict animal welfare practices are in place.”
Since releasing the disturbing video, Mercy for Animals Canada requested that Saputo adopt meaningful animal welfare policies for its dairy supplies. An online petition calling on Saputo to stop supporting animal cruelty has collected over 100,000 signatures.