The seemingly neverending saga of the case of cattle abuse on a Chilliwack farm came one step closer to conclusion Wednesday with the sentencing of the seventh and final man convicted in the case.
Brad Genereux was handed a 45-day jail sentence to be served intermittently, and an 18-month ban on caring for large animals with the exception that he can continue to work at his job at Cedarwal Farms in Abbotsford.
Judge Peter LaPrairie outlined 10 examples of the “gratuitous violence” depicted in video shot by an undercover employee working for animal rights activist group Mercy for Animals (MFA) in 2014.
Incidents included: repeatedly hitting a cow with a cane; hitting one in the face with a metal rake; punching a cow’s udder; ripping out tail hair; and attaching a milking machine to a bull’s testicles.
But LaPrairie focused on the video clip showing Genereux repeatedly hitting a cow that had just given birth. The placenta is visible hanging out of the cow.
“Mr. Genereux not only caused the cow to be in distress, but ignored the health needs of the animal,” LaPrairie said.
In total there were 18 video clips in which Genereux is seen causing animals distress, or not stopping others from doing something similar.
Crown counsel asked the court for 60 to 90 days jail and a three-year ban on caring for large animals.
In requesting a sentence of seven days, Genereux’s lawyer Ed Cooper painted a picture of a “poisonous or toxic” work culture at Chilliwack Cattle Sales at the time of the incidents.
“It was brought on by the working conditions at Chilliwack Cattle,” Cooper told the court, adding that Genereux said the company brought in problem cows and the crews had just a few seconds to perform each task while milking the thousands of cows.
“There is tremendous pressure. This is a job that went for eight hours through the night.”
At 18, he said his client was young, had no criminal record, and was now working in a job and doing well contributing to family income while living with his mother and grandmother.
In speaking to the justice system’s focus on specific deterrence, Cooper said the infamy from media and social media was more than enough to deter future incidents.
“Google ‘Brad Genereux’ and the videos are going to come up,” he said. “That’s probably going to follow him for the rest of his life.”
In asking for the seven days, Cooper compared Genereux’s actions to that of Travis Keefer who received that sentence. LaPrairie disagreed stating Genereux’s actions were closest to those of Cody Larson who was sentenced to 20 days and given a $4,000 fine and a one-year ban on caring for large animals.
Keefer was sentenced in May along with Chris Vandyke and Jamie Visser were sentenced to 60 days jail and are banned from being in care of control of animals for three years.
Crown is appealing that sentence. The allegation is that the sentencing judge put too much emphasis on how many seconds each instance of abuse lasted rather than the sheer number of instances.
That appeal is scheduled for Nov. 14, and Visser and Vandyke are cross-appealing.
Larson was sentenced in June along with Lloyd Blackwell who was given a $7,000 fine and a three-year ban on caring for animals. Blackwell was the only individual not sentenced to jail time.
The company, Chilliwack Cattle Sales, and one director were also charged in the case. They pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay $345,000 in fines in December 2016.