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Rejected milk from Chilliwack Cattle to head across the border

Everyone is asking what is being done with rejected milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sale. It
Everyone is asking what is being done with rejected milk from Chilliwack Cattle Sale. It's heading to FPE Renewables, a food waste recycling facility in Lynden, Washington, The Progress has learned.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

The latest wrinkle in the cow abuse scandal that has rocked the farming community of Chilliwack is what is being done with the rejected milk from the Chilliwack Cattle Sales farm.

Since learning that dairy giant Saputo cut off milk shipments from CCS in the wake of video abuse evidence, people from all over the country have been expressing outrage about the waste of perfectly good milk.

The cows still have to be milked, so tens of thousands of litres a day from the largest dairy in Canada owned by the Kooyman family will be heading to a food-waste facility just across the border, The Progress has learned.

The milk will be picked up from the farm and trucked to FPE Renewables.

It's food waste recycling facility located in Lynden, Washington State, confirmed BC Milk Marketing Board rep Lynne Crites.

From there it will be unloaded into a pit, and put through an anaerobic digestion system. Anaerobic digestion is a process where plant and animal matter gets broken down and converted into methane gas, and transformed into renewable energy.

First the outraged citizens called for a boycott of dairy giant Saputo, and then when the Montreal company stopped accepting the milk, some grew angry about the wasted milk.

Chelsey Schwaerzle, the daughter of a dairy farming family from Agassiz, and a lawyer, had a pointed message for anyone advocating the boycott of dairy products.

Schwaerzle grew up on a dairy farm and can attest to the strong work ethic, standards and care.

"I would go so far as to say that no one is going to be more appalled by the mistreatment of animals than those who make their living caring for them."

She called the boycott "misguided."

"Dear Everyone: You tied our hands then got mad when we couldn't lend you one.

"The call for a boycott succeeded," she underlined. "You scared the largest processor in the country so they refused to buy the milk.  And now you are mad about the waste. You cannot blame the farmers or the board for the results of your success."

The marketing board, as the dairy regulator, is not getting paid for the product and the milk is not getting used as food, she pointed out.

"If you felt like you had to push for something, a simple fine could also have resulted in financial consequences. Then the milk would not be wasted and the money from the fine could have been put towards the same worthy causes you were trying to advance."

She took Saputo to task for its blatant PR move to refuse to accept CCS milk, and for perpetuating the myth that farmers are the enemy.

"I understand that Saputo is a corporation and that they place their business interest and profits first and foremost. But they seem to be (purposefully or inadvertently) distancing themselves from the farmers as damage control in response to the boycotting efforts."  Saputo has stated in release that they are not dairy farmers, nor do they own dairy farms.

"And they reassure the public that animal mistreatment offends their values, just as it does their customers.

"Well Saputo, you could have used your unique position to educate the public rather than jump on the bandwagon.

"Animal mistreatment offends the farmers too," Schwaerzle wrote. "You didn't need to perpetuate this image that the farmers are the enemy in this fight. And, as a member of the industry, you really should have known better. Because now we have to deal with the fallout from the boycott as well.

It's not known much milk would be lost from the supply line.

The video from Mercy for Animals Canada surfaced June 8 from Chilliwack Cattle Sales, on Prairie Central Road. The industry has been in full damage control mode and trying to reassure the public it's not the norm.

BC SPCA has recommended cruelty charges against eight CCS workers who were subsequently fired in the wake of the video that captured horrific abuse of dairy cows. Crown counsel is now considering charges.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Twitter.com/chwkjourno

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