A trio of farm workers have been sentenced to jail time for their role in a Chilliwack animal abuse case.
Travis Keefer, Chris Vandyke and Jamie Visser were sentenced in Chilliwack Provincial Court on Thursday.
Visser and Vandyke were sentenced to 60 days in jail and are not allowed to care for animals for three years, while Keefer received seven days in jail, and cannot care for animals for one year.
The charges stemmed from an undercover video taken in 2014 at Chilliwack Cattle Sales by animal welfare group Mercy for Animals, which showed cows being kicked and punched in the face by workers, while others suffered from open wounds and oozing infections.
Krista Hiddlema, Vice President of Mercy for Animals Canada, spoke to Simi Sara about the video and ruling on Thursday.
“There was no stronger message that Canadians simply will not tolerate animal abuse,” Hiddlema says. “These creatures have finally had justice served for them.”
She says the sentencing was precedent-setting.
“The judge himself indicated that there was no case law for him to really refer to. What he did was make the right decision on behalf of these abused and tortured animals.”
Hiddlema says the landmark case has changed the way animal abuse is handled.
Last December Chilliwack Cattle Sales, along with one of its directors, were fined $300,000 and served animal bans after pleading guilty to animal cruelty.
“In every instance, the judge has very clearly taken the position that this type of animal abuse is simply not acceptable,” Hiddlema says.
The video was met with public outcry after going viral when it was released back in 2014.
WATCH: 2014 undercover video by Mercy for Animals at Chilliwack Cattle Sales (WARNING: Graphic content)
Hiddlema says that outcry was integral to Thursday’s sentencing.
“As the public becomes more educated, we know they will not tolerate this abuse.”
Four more employees, who did not plead guilty, are expected to stand trial at the end of the month.
With files from Ria Renouf