Protesters from an organization called Okanagan Animal Save protested on the side of Maier Road across from D Dutchmen Dairy on Tuesday, July 24. (Jim Elliot/Eagle Valley News)

Okanagan Animal Save protests at D Dutchmen Dairy in Sicamous

Owner of the dairy thinks it was chosen because of public visibility

Protesters from Okanagan Animal Save picketed on the side of the road across from D Dutchmen Dairy, a place which they say puts a family-friendly face on a cruel industry.

Eight protesters carrying signs bearing photos of cows and calves as well as slogans such as “dairy kills babies” and “stop the cruelty,” handed out leaflets condemning the dairy industry.

“Behind the scenes of a dairy, it’s horrifically cruel, the dairy industry is probably just the cruelest industry on the planet,” said Carla Irvine, one of the protesters.

“Cows are artificially bred, they’re mutilated, their horns are cut off, they’re often castrated without anesthetic. They’re confined for their whole lives. Baby males are either killed at birth or sent to veal crates and killed at a few months of age,” said Irvine.

Irvine and another protester and member of Okanagan Animal Save, Kim Gaalaas, said they are not attacking the treatment of the cows at D Dutchmen and its attached farm, DeWitt Holsteins.

Related: Businesses, volunteers recognized at Chamber awards

When asked why Okanagan Animal Save chose to protest in Sicamous, Irvine said it is the farm and dairy’s family-friendly esthetic they are primarily opposed to.

“This one kind of got on our radar because it presents itself as such a beautiful family event – like bring your families, eat the ice cream; it makes it look like its very humane.

“Nothing humane happens at a dairy farm, nothing humane happens at a slaughter house,” Irvine said.

Gaalaas and Irvine said they requested a police presence in response to threatening comments on the activist group’s Facebook page. An RCMP vehicle was on scene for the protest.

Jake DeWitt, the owner of D Dutchmen Dairy, said he feels his business is undeserving of the attention it received from the protesters, both because it is a separate business from the farm where the dairy cows are raised and managed by his brother and because the cows at DeWitt Holsteins are treated well.

“Our goal has always been to market our products directly to consumers and have a spot for families to stop and tour the farm and see how milk is produced,” DeWitt said.

“We have nothing to hide in that regard.”

He added that people are free to walk around and see that the cows have open access to both the pasture and the barn and are not mistreated.

Related: Innovative agriculture on display in Chilliwack

“His (my brother’s) farm, our businesses, are open to the public to walk around and see exactly what we do 24/7. We have nothing to hide. If we were hurting animals, people would complain to the SPCA and they would check it out,” DeWitt said.

He said he believes D Dutchmen was chosen as the subject of the protest because it is a busy tourist spot.

“It’s because there’s a lot of people here. That’s the only reason they’re here. If they were really concerned about the treatment of animals, they would go to some big farm somewhere and go check that out and protest that, and of course not a single person would see it,” DeWitt said.

“This is ridiculous, they’re hypocrites; they have horses, they have dogs.

“This farm has cows, they choose to utilize the cows to produce milk, it’s a local small dairy farm, if they want to go after anybody, they should go after the big corporations and not a family dairy farm,” said Lisa Cote, a Sicamous resident who was at the farm in support of the local business.

Cote and the protesters, standing on the opposite sides of Maier Road, argued over the treatment of cattle and the ethics of consuming cows’ milk as other people walked past to visit the farm and dairy.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Highway 1 to close near Revelstoke for avalanche control

Road is expected to remain closed between 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Former Shuswap resident killed in Alberta accident was expectant father

Geordie Murray described as ‘wonderful husband, brother son and friend’

Shuswap drivers warned to check under the hood – for cats

Think & Thump decal to raise awareness of animals seeking refuge in vehicles

Sicamous man given six months jail time for possession of child pornography

Forty-six-year-old will be on National Sex Offender Registry for 20 years

Two-month-old Kelowna boy diagnosed with rare heart disorder returns home from treatment

Arel spent two weeks at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver after suffering multiple cardiac arrests

JustIN: Okanagan artist teases new tune with mom

Justin J. Moore Music is releasing a new duet starring opera singer mom for a good cause

Police search north of Williams Lake prompts warning to residents to stay inside

Officers also warn drivers near Lynes Creek Road not to pick up pedestrians

Kamloops brothers arrested for each allegedly stealing excavators

Police arrest siblings on successive days; each has been charged with possession of stolen property

Missing Vernon man located

Friends, family report Vernon hotel manager Jay Rosenberger has been found

60% of Canadian workers would take a pay cut for better mental health support: survey

Survey found 77% of workers would leave for better wellness initiatives

Runaway rail car reported on same B.C. train line as fatal 2019 derailment

CP Rail confirmed the incident happened on Jan. 14.

Southern resident orca L41 considered missing and feared dead

The orca was last spotted in August 2019 when photographed in western Strait of Juan de Fuca

‘I am so sorry’: Stolen Baby Bear statue reunited with Mama, Papa Bear in B.C. town

Culprit left it near the Henry Road roundabout in Chemainus with a note attached

Most Read