Over two years since the video of farm-animal cruelty was released, Chilliwack Cattle Sales (CCS) and one of its directors has issued an intention to plead guilty in provincial court Tuesday.
20 counts of animal cruelty charges were laid against CCS and seven employees back in March, following the release of footage from an undercover operation by Mercy For Animals nearly two years prior.
The 2014 graphic tape showed workers kicking, punching, and hitting cows in their faces and bodies with chains.
BC SPCA spokeswoman Marcy Moriarty has called it a rare case.
“For the first I believe in British Columbia a company and its directors are being held accountable, are being charged, in association with these acts on this farm.”
According to the B.C. SPCA, 16 of the 20 counts fall under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and involve alleged acts of cruelty against dairy cows, while the four remaining counts of the counts are under the Wildlife Act.
Those charges are in relation to four of the employees for allegedly molesting a pigeon.
Mercy For Animals spokesperson Krista Hiddema said at the time that the farm contained sick and injured animals suffering from open wounds.
“There were workers that were using chains and tractors to lift sick and injured cows by their necks, as well as workers that were poking and squeezing festering wounds, ripping clumps of hair out of cows tails, and punching bulls in the testicles.”
The accused could be slapped with a fine of up to $75,000, up to a two-year jail term and up to a lifetime ban on owning animals.
Global News reports that the cattle company’s lawyer, Len Doust, told the court on Oct. 4 that CCS and one of the men accused would plead guilty at their next court appearance on Dec. 15.
Doust didn’t specify to which charge they intend to plead.