By AmbrÖse Bierce. As if the charges ofabuse at the Kooyman family dairy farm, revealed this week by the BC SPCA, weren’t disturbing enough, the response from the Kooyman family and some in the local media seems intent on focusing our attention on the farm’s employees rather than the Kooymans or the dairy industry as a whole.
The Chilliwack Progress pronounced, as though it had anything to back its statement up, that these horrific acts do not represent the industry as a whole and almost appeared prepared to let the Kooyman family off the hook for acts which they themselves have agreed were horrendous and unacceptable.
Well there you go.
Nothing left to see here folks. Move along.
It reminds me of the Abbotsford News’ response to the infamous Chicken Manure Incident in which it blamed low level city staff for the decision to spread chicken feces on the camps of Abbotsford’s homeless citizens.
They blamed low level employees despite emails revealing that senior staff in almost every department and the Salvation Army knew about and signed off on the decision.
When did it become the media’s job to circle the wagons and protect the rich and the powerful?
Any basic course in business management teaches budding young entrepreneurs that the tone and the culture of any organization is set by those at the top and those at the bottom will do what they believe they are supposed to do based on the messages they receive from those in charge.
These horrendous incidents of abuse did not happen one time on one day when a couple of employees acted a little out of the ordinary. The video was filmed on numerous occasions over an extended period of time.
The people who have been charged will have their day in court and, if they deserve it, will be punished. But the Kooyman family will continue to operate the largest dairy farm in Canada; they will continue to be rich; the dairy industry will, after expressing shock at what it will insist is an isolated incident, continue to extract exhorbitant amounts of money from consumers for products which cost a fraction of the Canadian price less than a mile across the US border due to a government protected monopoly.
The old newspaper media might not be exuding the death rattle emanating from its still pulsing corpse had they not abandoned their traditional role of representing the interests of the little guy in favour of defending the rich and the powerful.
If corporate culture is set by those in the corner office, then the Kooyman family should get out of the dairy business, sell Chilliwack Cattle Sales to farmers who can make money without torturing animals, and count their lucky stars that none of them are going to jail.
If the dairy industry allows them to continue to operate Canada’s largest dairy farm despite the charges of animal cruelty, from which the local media seems intent on trying to protect them, then the industry as a whole will end up paying for their terrible lack of management skills and oversight.
As for the local media, protecting the powerful and the rich is hardly a mission statement anybody but you can possibly believe in anymore. In case you haven’t noticed … nobody but you does.
AmbrÖse Bierce is Today’s writer in residence who occasionally gives voice to the concerns of individual citizens and taxpayers who, for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to take a public stand on issues of relevance to the rest of the community. Reasons may include possible loss of job, injury to their business, or any number of quite legitimate reasons to keep their mouths shut.
While all columns and letters on Today are signed by their authors, we have decided to provide this venue for those with legitimate opinions, based on fact, with something to contribute to the public debate in the city. This is not a place for wild venting or personal attacks. AmbrÖse requires you identify yourself to him and explain why you need to keep your identity secure.
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