Abbotsford – In a media statement released Friday November 12, activists claim they are organizing a protest for Saturday morning (November 13) at the workplace of Dr. Rich Vanderwal.
He is a veterinarian and co-owner of Cedar Valley Farms, currently under investigation by the BCSPCA for criminal animal cruelty.
In late October, Cedar Valley, a large organic dairy farm in the Fraser Valley, had its license suspended after video footage of animal abuse surfaced.
Footage taken at Cedar Valley between May and October 2021—which shows alleged abuse of cows at the facility—was anonymously turned over in late October to Animal Justice, a national animal law advocacy group.
On Monday, international animal-welfare organization PETA called for the closure of Cedar Valley Farms, but organizers of Saturday’s protest are going further by calling on the BC College of Veterinarians to revoke Dr. Vanderwal’s license. “Dr. Vanderwal must be held accountable for the animals abused at his facility and under his care,” said animal rights activist Amy Soranno.
Further in their release: BCSPCA has admitted it does not have the ability to monitor commercial animal farms in BC and has called on the provincial government for greater oversight of the industry. The private charity tasked with enforcing animal abuse laws in BC is also now calling for the implementation of video monitoring on commercial farms, something activists have been demanding for years.
Dr. Vanderwal was the acting veterinarian for Chilliwack Cattle Sales, a dairy farm that was exposed in 2014 for animal abuse that resulted in multiple convictions for farm owners and workers, as well as fines and jail time for some. Vanderwal is also a “third-party” animal welfare consultant for the Abbotsford Police Department who was called to the Excelsior Hog Farm in 2019. Despite extensive evidence of criminal animal cruelty, Vanderwal told police that animal welfare conditions at the hog farm were being met.
A former Cedar Valley Farms worker told CTV News that he had witnessed violent acts perpetrated against animals at the farm, and repeatedly reported allegations of abuse, but no corrective action was ever taken.