The Dairy Farmers of Ontario is working on a policy that could suspend milk pickup if a dairy farmer has been charged by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA).
Discussions have been ongoing for about a year. The proposed policy would state that producers will be paid for only eight days of milk after being charged.
Some OSCPA cases can drag on for years. DFO director Murray Sherk said if it’s a one-time case of an employee abusing an animal, there would be no reason why that employee couldn’t be dealt with separately and the farm still have its milk picked up. If found not guilty, the DFO would reimburse the farmer for the missed pickups, he said. “The proposal is to get a third-party veterinarian in there very quickly to assess the situation and if it’s not chronic and it’s a one-time issue, then the farm would be re-instated.”
This policy stems from the case in Chilliwack, British Columbia a few years ago where six farm workers got jail time for animal cruelty offences. The processor suspended milk pickup because of the bad publicity.
“Processors don’t want to receive milk until (farms) have been cleared of any potential wrong-doing,” Sherk said.