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Chilliwack Workers Sentenced To Jail Time for Dairy Cow Abuse

Animal Justice May 18, 2017

Three B.C. men have been sentenced to jail time after pleading guilty to violently abusing cows at Chilliwack Cattle Sales—Canada’s largest dairy farm.

As reported in The Vancouver Sun, two workers were sentenced to 60 days in jail, to be served on weekends, and are banned from owning animals for three years. A third worker was sentenced to seven days in jail and a one-year ban on owning animals.

The cow abuse dates back to 2014, when Mercy For Animals released an undercover video exposing abuse at the farm. The footage showed workers repeatedly hitting, beating, kicking, punching, and whipping cows with chains and canes; a cow being lifted by a tractor with a chain around her neck; and workers abusing a pigeon.

Chilliwack Cattle Sales president Kenneth Kooyman and director Wesley Kooyman were fined $300,000 late last year after they pleaded guilty to several counts of animal cruelty on behalf of the dairy. Four more former workers are set to face trial, starting on Friday, May 19.

The Chilliwack case highlights a gaping flaw in Canada’s legal system: Animals on farms aren’t protected by effective oversight. Farms aren’t required to be licenced, employees aren’t required to have any training, and the government does not inspect or monitor farms for animal welfare measures.

Even when there is no overt abuse or neglect of animals, many consumers are surprised to learn that standard industry practices—which are considered legal by authorities—still involve extreme animal suffering.

For example, on dairy farms, calves are taken from their mothers at birth so the milk can be sold by the dairy industry. The baby calves are fed formula before they’re killed for veal (in the case of male calves) or used as dairy cows themselves (in the case of female calves). All dairy cows are killed when they become less profitable, at only a fraction of their natural lifespan.

Research by Animal Justice shows that more than 771 million animals were killed for food in 2016, making the treatment of farmed animals a pressing social issue.

Animal Justice

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Animal Justice Intervening in Vancouver Aquarium Copyright Appeal at BC Court of Appeal

Animal Justice March 19, 2017

VANCOUVER – National animal law organization Animal Justice will argue before the BC Court of Appeal on Monday as an intervener in an important appeal that could affect the ability of animal advocates to film, expose, and publicize animal cruelty in Canada.

The case is an appeal from a decision of the BC Supreme Court in a lawsuit filed by the Vancouver Aquarium against filmmaker Gary Charbonneau over his documentary Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered, which exposes the cruelty of keeping sentient whales and dolphins in captivity at the Aquarium. The Aquarium sued Mr. Charbonneau for alleged copyright violations, and sought an injunction to remove the film from the internet. In April 2016, the injunction judge ordered that several minutes of footage must be removed from the film.

Legal experts have called the Aquarium’s lawsuit an abuse of copyright law and an illegitimate attempt to silence free speech on a matter of public importance. The BC Court of Appeal granted Mr. Charbonneau leave to appeal the injunction.

Animal Justice will intervene to argue that if the injunction decision is not overturned, secretive animal use industries will be emboldened to file illegitimate copyright lawsuits to silence animal advocates. This could prevent them from investigating, documenting, and exposing hidden animal cruelty. The BC Civil Liberties Association is also intervening in the appeal.

Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice, will be available for comment following the appeal, along with Mr. Charbonneau and his lawyer Arden Beddoes.

Animal Justice is represented by Bryan McLean of Lindsay LLP.

What:
The BC Court of Appeal will hear arguments in the case of Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre v. Gary Charbonneau

When:
Monday, March 20, 2017
Supporters of Mr. Charbonneau will gather at 9:00 a.m. outside the courthouse for a rally
Court begins at 10:00 a.m. PT

Where:
BC Court of Appeal, Room 60
900 Smithe Street, Vancouver

Who:
Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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Animal Justice Seeks Leave To Intervene In Vancouver Aquarium Appeal

Animal Justice September 28, 2016

VANCOUVER – National animal law organization Animal Justice is asking the B.C. Court of Appeal for permission to intervene in an important appeal that could affect the ability of animal advocates to do undercover investigations into animal cruelty, and to otherwise film, photograph, and expose animal abuse.

The case is an appeal of a decision of the B.C. Supreme Court in a lawsuit filed by the Vancouver Aquarium against filmmaker Gary Charbonneau. Mr. Charbonneau’s film Vancouver Aquarium Uncovered criticized the Aquarium for its practice of keeping and breeding whales and dolphins in captivity. In response, the Aquarium sued Mr. Charbonneau for violation of copyright, and sought an injunction to have the film removed from the internet.

The Aquarium was partially successful in April when the judge hearing the injunction ordered that 15 segments with nearly five minutes worth of material be removed from the film. The Aquarium claimed copyright over these segments, which included material from its website and footage shot at its facility–despite well-established limits on copyright law that allow users to reproduce copyrighted material for many purposes, including criticism and news reporting.

Legal experts have called the Aquarium’s lawsuit an abuse of copyright law that improperly attempts to silence legitimate criticism and shut down robust public debate. In May, the B.C. Court of Appeal granted Mr. Charbonneau leave to appeal the injunction decision.

“Films and undercover investigation videos are powerful tools to expose hidden animal suffering and spark social and legal change,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “If the injunction decision is not overturned, animal use industries will be emboldened to launch bogus copyright lawsuits to silence animal advocates and prevent them from exposing and publicizing animal abuse through undercover investigations, films, and photographs.

“This case could be Canada’s own version of “ag gag” laws–the troubling statutes passed by many U.S. states that criminalize filming animal abuse on farms.

“Animal Justice is hopeful that the court will accept our application to intervene in this crucial case so we can protect the ability to film, photograph, and expose animal suffering.”

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For more information, contact:

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
camille@animaljustice.ca

Animal Justice

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