Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Pig Slaughterhouse Should be Charged with Criminal Animal Cruelty: Animal Rights Lawyers

October 6, 2016 Anna Pippus, Animal Justice

BURLINGTON, ON—National animal law organization Animal Justice is calling for criminal animal cruelty charges to be filed against Fearmans Pork, a slaughterhouse in Ontario that kills 10,000 young pigs each day.

On October 5, a truck carrying 180 pigs overturned as it approached the slaughter facility, killing, injuring, and trapping the crowded pigs inside. 42 pigs died. Video footage shows surviving pigs being hit with paddles to force them out of the truck and across the parking lot to be killed.

Some injured pigs collapsed outside the truck; witnesses report these animals were offered no medical attention, shelter, or comfort for many hours before they were finally stunned with a captive bolt pistol and transported by tractor inside the slaughter facility. Animal advocates pleaded with the slaughterhouse to allow them to bring the animals for medical treatment and to live out their lives at a farm sanctuary, but were ignored.

Section 446(1) of Canada’s Criminal Code prohibits causing injury to animals through wilful neglect while they are being driven. Section 445.1(1) prohibits causing unnecessary suffering to animals. Ontario animal cruelty laws also prohibit allowing animals to be in distress, require animals to be provided with medical attention, and require euthanasia be performed promptly.

Dr. Anita Krajnc, who is currently standing trial for giving water to a heat-stressed pig outside this same slaughterhouse, was arrested for crossing a police barrier to document the plight of the suffering animals.

“Twice now, police have laid criminal charges against the wrong person,” said lawyer Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy for Animal Justice. “Once again, animals lay suffering and dying without any medical attention, while police arrested the woman who came to their aid rather than those who caused the animals to suffer in the first place. Abusing and neglecting vulnerable animals is both morally wrong and a criminal offence. The only logical course of action is for police to drop the charges against Dr. Krajnc and to instead charge Fearmans Pork for animal cruelty.”

Comment: Fearmans should definitely be charged. Politicians are expected to implement legislation to protect animals and they've failed in their duties, as well, putting industry interests and the economy over all else. Meanwhile, citizens are becoming increasingly fed up with the corrosive influence of money in our government and are rising up against it.  

The CFIA gets regular complaints and concerns over farm animal transport says Michelle Groleau in a 2015 news story in Western Producer. Canada's animal cruelty laws evolve around the concerns of the agriculture lobby, mired in 19th C. thinking, and we’ve seen just how hard it is trying to get decision-makers to act.

Pigs that survived Burlington truck crash were still slaughtered

October 6, 2016 CBC News excerpt

Mary Jane Quinn, the manager of communications for Ontario Pork, told CBC News that workers at the plant "worked immediately to save as many hogs as possible" after the crash.

But their safety was extremely short lived, as workers walked the surviving pigs through the plant's parking lot, which was right next to where the crash happened. It was akin to a hog version of the last mile, as the animals that had made it through the wreck just trotted from the crash to the slaughterhouse.

PETA has sent a letter to Burlington’s director of transportation to approve erecting a 1.5-metre-tall “tombstone memorial” at the crash scene for the 42 pigs that died. The OSPCA is also investigating the crash.

Photo: Pigs comfort each other after crash

Comment: No mercy. Money trumps all. The best thing we can do for the animals, our health, and the environment is to align our values with our actions by boycotting such a heartless industry.

For all our ideals and morality, those of us who eat meat are undeniably mass killers, even if we hire hit men to do the job, and others to carve the bodies up, and yet others to transport the chunks around in refrigerated trucks. It’s like a snuff flick. No one makes one if there are no buyers. Everyone involved is guilty." Bob Hunter, Vancouver Sun columnist, deceased 2005

March 9, 2017 Defence lawyer compares woman who gave water to pigs to Gandhi, Mandela

BURLINGTON - A Toronto woman who gave water to pigs on a truck headed to slaughter committed an act of kindness similar to when people gave water to Jews transported on cattle trains during the Holocaust, her lawyer said in closing arguments at her trial Thursday.

Defence lawyer Gary Grill also compared Anita Krajnc's actions — and the resulting legal battle — to the experiences of historic rights activists such as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Susan B. Anthony. "Anita is acting in the public good," Grill told a packed courtroom in Burlington. He added that "even if we found a solution to fix our health and environmental problems caused by farming and eating animals….there are still the pigs. They are persons." The farmers in the room laughed. Judge Harris replied by saying "well you know, less than a century ago women were also not considered people". This judge gets it.

Around the globe, activists mobilized and began holding solidarity vigils in support of Krajnc. Well-known organizations like PETA are standing with her, as are celebrities like Jane Velez-Mitchell and Moby. People from all walks of life have come together, united in this fight for justice, and the media can’t get enough. It is history in the making!

May 4, 2017 update: Not Guilty! Justice David Harris acquitted Anita Krajnc on the charge of mischief laid in connection with giving pigs headed to slaughter water in June 2015. It's considered criminal mischief to "obstruct, interrupt, or interfere" with the "lawful use, enjoyment, or operation of property."

Harris stated: “I am not satisfied that she obstructed the use of property or broke the law. Accordingly the charge is dismissed.” The courtroom then erupted into cheers. Society’s attitudes toward animals are evolving and Ms. Krajnc’s trial may be a catalyst for change. Increased scrutiny on the animal agriculture system will result in enhanced law enforcement, because as our social norms progress, so will our expectations – and as our expectations change, so too will law enforcement. We can anticipate that there will be less separation between humans and nonhumans as the law matures. It is inconceivable that animals are still regarded as property under the Criminal Code of Canada.

April 24, 2019  BC SPCA to investigate 'horrific' footage shot at Excelsior Hog Farm, Abbotsford.

It is owned in part by Ray Binnendyk, a member of the board of directors of the BC Pork Producers Association. The video, shot in February and March, and subsequently released to PETA, shows pigs cramped inside metal crates. Severely injured and lame pigs can also be seen, as well as dead piglets, and a larger pig’s corpse which appears to be in an advanced state of decomposition.

On April 29, about 200 activists arrived by two busloads and occupied upon the barn for several hours. The farm is cooperating with investigators. Every single hidden camera video shows why the animal agriculture industry cannot be trusted to raise animals humanely and why it cannot continue to self-regulate. It has operated in secret for far too long and if trespass is what it takes to bring the atrocities to the public’s attention, so be it. We deserve an open and transparent system.

May 12, 2019 The Intercept: Animal Rights Activists Push Legal Boundaries in Canada

Asked what she expected from the Excelsior investigation, Anna Pippus, an animal welfare lawyer, replied, “Nothing.” The goal, then, in publishing such footage is less to trigger penalties and more to shock the public into changing the system……

Comment: If the law doesn’t respond to changing societal values & those charged with enforcing the law  fail in their duties, one could argue that a person has an obligation to step in. We cannot let animal abusers, others triumph.

August - September, 2020 UPDATE: Four activists have been hit with a number of criminal charges for break and enter to commit an indictable offence and mischief with in regard to alleged actions last year at Excelsior hog farm in Abbotsford. The SPCA was given video so they could investigate as to animal cruelty, yet it appears charges will not be pursued, as indicated by Crown Counsel. This is a perversion of justice.

Comment: Instead of prosecuting people who reveal illegal animal cruelty on farms, police should be focused on monitoring and prosecuting farms that abuse animals. "To charge whistleblowers, and ignore their findings is a travesty of justice, and an example of the lengths that animal agriculture will go to hide the truth," says retired RCMP Corporal Dan Moskaluk.  https://www.abbynews.com/news/photos-court-appearance-for-pig-farm-animal-activists-met-with-protesters/

Read more on our Factory Farm & Ethics Pages

Well worth watching - HBO documentary 'Death on a Factory Farm'