LETTER: Fair Oaks Farms Animal Abuse

As a dairy farmer and beef producer, I saw red and felt anger inside of me that I have not felt in many years.

To the Editor:

A horrific video was shared on social media a couple of days ago depicting animal abuse of calves on Fair Oaks Farms (Fairlife Milk). I am sure some of you have seen the video and possibly even shared it. As a dairy farmer and beef producer, I saw red and felt anger inside of me that I have not felt in many years. How can anyone stand there witnessing this abuse, film it and do nothing? Absolutely nothing.

I decided to put my thoughts and emotions into writing, then shared them on our Kootenay River Beef Facebook page.

At one point in my life, I worked as an animal cruelty investigator in British Columbia. I witnessed horrific acts of abuse toward many species of animals. Animals in homes, animals on farms of all sizes, even “rescue” organizations. I have, been and will always be committed to animal welfare.

Fair Oaks Farm was unaware that the individuals they hired were undercover activists working for the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM). Upon the hiring of these undercover ARM employees and any other employees, a contract was required to be signed. This is a “see something say something” or a report abuse contract. Many farms including ours have contracts like this in place.

Over time, video footage was captured by the ARM undercover employees. These same undercover ARM employees failed to report the abuse as it was occurring; instead, they simply filmed it! It should be noted that the abuse was reported by other staff members and not any of the undercover ARM employees.

This leaves me even more outraged! Critically think about this. How can anyone stand and video acts of horrific abuse toward animals or any human being and not report it to authorities? How does withholding these videos and failing to report immediately show compassion for animals? Animal activism is big business with a very transparent goal being to end all animal agriculture.

Abusers prey on our most vulnerable in society, those that cannot speak for themselves. Abusers prey on animals, babies, children, mentally ill and our elderly. There are bad people in all walks of every profession. This is the sad reality of the world we live in today. We all need to report abuse!

Our laws need to change with respect to animal abuse. The penalties must be swift and harsh toward the perpetrators and anyone involved in filming or knowledge of the abuse that fails to report.

We as farmers all need to be learning from this. Watch your staff. Install cameras if and where needed. Your staff learns from you and model your behaviour. Do you have a “report abuse” policy?

Thank you to farmers that are dedicated to the five freedoms and are raising their animals with compassion, respect and love.

Christine Vanderloos | Kootenay River Beef | Vanderloos Farms Ltd

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