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Farm groups weigh options after hog truck verdict

Ontario provincial judge dismisses charge against activist

Officials with Ontario farm groups plan to “discuss next steps” following the dismissal of charges against an animal welfare activist who gave drinks to hogs aboard a livestock trailer.

Justice David Harris of the Ontario Court of Justice on Thursday dismissed a charge of criminal mischief against Anita Krajnc of the self-described “grassroots, animal rights, vegan” group Toronto Pig Save, stemming from a June 2015 incident in Burlington, Ont.

The charge alleged interference with farm animals in transit, as Krajnc gave what she said was water from a bottle to pigs through the vents in the walls of a livestock trailer stopped at a red light en route to the Fearmans Pork slaughter plant at Burlington.

Four Ontario farm groups, in a joint release, said Thursday they’re “extremely disappointed with the decision and are concerned that activists will be encouraged to engage in escalating activities that are a growing threat to animal welfare, food security and human safety.”

“This is frustrating for Ontario pork producers, who adhere to federal regulations and high standards of animal care, and are constantly evolving to further enhance their commitment to healthy animals and communities,” Ontario Pork chairman Eric Schwindt said in the same release.

“Our concern in this instance was specific to the safety of food and people,” he added.

“Actions by Krajnc and activists like her should not be condoned by the courts as they threaten acceptable and legal farming practices and are a threat to food safety,” Bruce Kelly, program manager with Farm + Food Care Ontario, said in the same release.

The four groups, also including the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario, said in a separate statement Wednesday they “support the right to peaceful protest, but not to interfere with farm animals.”

Asked Thursday about the possibility of an appeal, an Ontario Pork spokesperson noted the group attended Krajnc’s trial as an observer and wouldn’t be directly involved if an appeal is considered.

“Not satisfied”

In his ruling Thursday, which followed hearings held last summer and fall, Harris said he’s “not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt” that Krajnc “interfered with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation” of the hogs or the business that owned them — as per the legal definition of mischief.

Harris rejected defense assertions that the hogs were “persons” rather than “property,” ruling that while Krajnc or others may believe so, “that does not, however, make it so.”

The judge also rejected defense claims that the pigs, being shipped from Van Boekel Hog Farms, weren’t being transported in compliance with governing regulations. The judge declared “any use of the property in this case was lawful.”

However, considering the Crown’s case that Krajnc gave the hogs an “unknown substance/possible contaminant,” Harris said “that theory breaks down when one looks at the evidence.”

Harris said there was no evidence that Krajnc gave the pigs an unknown substance, only evidence from Krajnc that she gave them water.

Harris rejected the trucker’s testimony that he “did not know what (Krajnc) had given to the pigs,” noting the driver “did not turn around and drive the truckload of ‘contaminated’ pigs back to the farm” but rather “straight to the slaughterhouse.”

Once at the Fearmans plant, the driver didn’t tell anyone the pigs might have been contaminated — not because he meant to sneak contaminated pigs in for slaughter, but “because he believed Ms. Krajnc had given them water, just like she and other protesters had done before,” the judge said.

Furthermore, Harris said, Fearmans “did not refuse to accept the truckload of pigs” and “had never refused” previous loads of hogs after protesters gave them water.

“As far as I know, every pig on that truck went on to be slaughtered and processed and passed on to consumers in the usual fashion,” the judge said, also noting “no evidence” that Krajnc had wilfully intended to cause Fearmans to reject the load of hogs in question.

However, Harris also rejected defense claims of legal justification for Krajnc’s actions, saying that if she had broken the law, she “did not act with legal justification or colour of right.”

If she meant to save a pig’s life, her actions “failed to accomplish that,” he said, and if she meant to provide “temporary relief to a pig,” all the hogs would have been given water a few minutes later at the packing plant.

Also, Harris said, if Krajnc had meant just to raise public awareness, she “did not need to break the law to do so.”

The judge also noted the irony that Krajnc’s actions “failed to increase public awareness until she was charged with this offence.” — AGCanada.com Network

 

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Comments

  • David Brown

    Making a big deal of this in the first place is really, really stupid. With the charge being dismissed there is an incentive for more radical acts than giving a little bit of drinking water to the hogs.

    • General-Zod

      heaven forbid that hogs going to slaughter get one final drink of water. These farming coalitions act like this is the Cuban Missle crisis.

      • Nathan Harris

        Don’t be ridiculous, the pigs are given water at the slaughterhouse. Why do people feel that they have the right to interfere with a legal business and jeopardize the livelihood of honest hard working people because they believe that pigs are the same as humans? Their twisted ideology is no reason to act in this obstructive way.

        • cath2

          i doubt very much that animals are watered at the slaughterhouse

          • Nathan Harris

            Your doubt doesn’t count, because you have no knowledge of animal farm practices or requirements.

          • Ty Savoy

            Her common sense means a great deal more than your bias.

          • Nathan Harris

            Because I know you are an ideologue, and won’t bother to educate yourself, I provide the proof to back the correct position I posted.

            (6) The operator shall ensure that food animals at the plant, except for rabbits and birds other than ratites, are,

            (a) kept in secure pens that are constructed and maintained in accordance with this Regulation;

            (b) provided with continuous access to potable drinking water; and

            (c) fed, if kept at the plant for more than 24 hours. O. Reg. 31/05, s. 60 (6).

          • cath2

            and tell me, crammed into a pen – how many have access to the water? not many i suspect. I’ve been around enough livestock markets where they are also suppose to be providing water and the animals are crammed so tight, they can barely move, never mind get to the water pan. And of course no inspectors in site!

          • Nathan Harris

            You doubt, you suspect, but you don’t know, which is the point here. Your experience at whatever so called animal market is irrelevant to this conversation. At slaughterhouses in Ontario, which is what this story is about, there are standards of animal care, and there are always inspectors and veterinarians present. The animals are treated as humanely as possible, because if they are not it affects the quality of the meat coming from the process. You really need to educate yourself and quit listening to the anti agriculture zealots that bombard you and others with untruth and false propaganda. There are a couple commenting just below, these are the zealots I’m referring to, because their ideology clearly is, that animals shouldn’t be used for food. Sorry, you don’t have the right to impose your twisted ideals on me or anyone else. If you choose to not eat meat, that’s fine by me, just don’t be a hypocrite and find out everything you will have to give up to live your idealistic lifestyle, and then mind your own business and leave the rest of us alone.

          • cath2

            Yeah, sure there are always vets and inspectors present…..too bad that years and years ago the numbers of inspectors were cut way back. Talk about a zealot – i find your “truths” to be in that category too.

          • Nathan Harris

            Like I mentioned before your doubt does not count for fact. I am not the zealot here, I am for choice. You are trying to take away my choice and force me to think like you, that’s the very definition of being a zealot. Like I said before I am totally fine with you choosing not to eat meat I would expect you to be totally fine with me doing so. If you are not, then you are definitely the one who is the zealot.

          • cath2

            i am not “forcing” you to do anything – how could i do that? All I am, we are, doing is reminding folks ‘who’ they are eating and the kind of life they endured for your brief moment of gustatory pleasure. If one could live without abject cruelty, why wouldn’t they??

          • Nathan Harris

            You personally may not think you are forcing anything, but the zealots you are supporting, believe that animal agriculture should cease to exist, which would be “forcing” an ideology on other people. Can you not see the end game of these people? Don’t be led around by irrational zealots. Like I stated numerous times, you are free to not eat meat, but you are not free to impinge on the rights of those who do. Your feeble attempts at shaming and accusing us of abject cruelty is just more zealous nonsense. I know exactly what I am eating, and I am fine with it. I know agriculture intimately, I know hundreds of farmers in animal agriculture, I’ve been on more farms than you can imagine, and every single one of them love their animals and treat them with great care and affection. How many farms have you been on in actual physical reality? If you actually knew about real agriculture, and not the false picture that makes up the propaganda of the animal rights zealots you would see this clearly.

          • cath2

            interesting comment “love their animals, treat them with great care & affection” and then send them off to slaughter. hmmmm. and ohhh, yea, i grew up on a farm – my great grandfather a blacksmith, and my grandfather a farmer and trainer, and my own father as well….so, sorry, not right on that one.

          • Nathan Harris

            The fact that you claim to come from a farm background makes your position even more misguided. Animals raised for food go to slaughter, that’s the purpose so not sure what you expect there. They are treated humanely leading up to their slaughter, so no moral dilemma there, sorry.

          • cath2

            i don’t agree that they are treated humanely, ever and esp. at slaughter. I don’t believe that for an instant. There is a moral dilemma to me…. we disagree – get over it.

          • Nathan Harris

            Well cath2, it sounds like it’s you that needs to get over something not me. You have a completely false view of how animals are looked after and that’s on you not me, because you’re belief that animals are mistreated is misguided and not true. No need to get snippy.

          • cath2

            Snippy? haaahhhaaa. you are truly delusional

          • Nathan Harris

            If there’s anyone delusional here it’s the one who believes pigs and humans are equal.

        • Shane M Emerich

          Farming animals for slaughter is a pathetic way to make a living.
          Shouldn’t have to bank off of the mistreatment and exploitation of another living thing.
          Get into a respectable business that benifits society and doesn’t harm the planet, which factory farming is one of the worst things for the earth BTW.

          • Ty Savoy

            Amen brother. Total agreement. This is a sick, twisted, disgusting way to make a living.

        • Ty Savoy

          Because those honest hardworking people are killing innocent, voiceless ones, who do not want to die. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f67a5582353157a91405d4bfe79d42038772f71f8608706cfed385abd3cf7990.jpg

          • Nathan Harris

            Your silly poster has a Holstein dairy cow representing a plate of meat. You are clueless like the rest…no credibility

          • cath2

            useless dealing with this person Ty – troll like. don’t think i’ll waste any more time commenting on his vested interests

          • Nathan Harris

            Not sure if your comment is directed to me or Ty Savoy, although I also believe Ty is trolling.

  • Alberto13646

    In this day and age, if I saw she had some container with a fluid in it and she was attempting to feed it to the pigs, I would not assume it was water. It could have been anything. The person in charge of the pigs, the driver, would be expected to stop this assault on his stock. The “judgement” should be appealed.

    • Maxxon

      If the driver thought that she was giving them anything other than water, then he should have told someone. Because he didn’t, it was ruled that he didn’t think that she did give anything other than water. Otherwise, that driver could also be charged for allowing potentially contaminated pigs into the food system. If that 2nd option was true, then it would also say a lot about the ppl in charge (at each level) of the food supply, and honestly, wouldn’t surprise me.

      • Ty Savoy

        pic

        • Maxxon

          pic?

    • Ty Savoy

      Thankfully most people aren’t incredibly biased like you, and have common sense enough to see that harming animals is the farthest thing from what an animal activist is all about.

      • Alberto13646

        ” …incredibly biased like you…”, ” …common sense…”. Typical pious bovine faeces from haughty vegan warriors.

  • j gp

    Honestly with everything else to worry about..pig farmers….quit ur complaining over some dam water. N u charge too much for fatty bacon anyways lol

    • Nathan Harris

      When you have $ millions invested you can have some say. As it is, please quit complaining with your mouth full.

  • Janice Chytra

    I’m thrilled with this decision!! I’ve seen the cruelty these poor pigs endure!! God forbid they’re treated humanly and given some water before they’re murdered! Shame on you cruel, inhumane formers who treat them so poorly!! 💀

    • Nathan Harris

      It’s obviously apparent you’ve never met an actual farmer. If you had you wouldn’t have written the ridiculous statement that you did.

      • Michael Sizer

        Actual farmer here who is thrilled with the decision.

        • Nathan Harris

          You sir are as far removed from an actual farmer, that it’s not worth discussing. Looking after rescue animals, whatever that entails, does not qualify you as a farmer. The description of a farmer as it pertains to this discussion is someone who is involved in the commercial business of animal agriculture. You are free to not eat meat as you wish, but you are not free to try and pass yourself off as a farmer, so as to give the impression that farmers support this ridiculous action.

          • Michael Sizer

            I will not get into a discussion about this, but I am every bit a farmer sir. Good day.

          • Nathan Harris

            Sure you are, the only reason you won’t discuss it is because you know you have no farmer props. Good day.

  • So proud of you Anita! So sad to see our those poor pigs are treated. Hope to be able to go to one vigil one day. Congratulations for the good work! xxxx

  • Louise

    Those pigs, all of those animals on those trucks going to slaughter suffer. I see them every week. I am also one of those activists who bears witness, documents, and give water to animals on the trucks. That little bit of compassion they receive from us is hardly a crime. Those animals know that we see them. People raised or work in the animal agriculture industry are indoctrinated to see those beings as nothing more than hunks of meat with legs, otherwise you could not do to them what you do. We see them for who they are… individuals, someone – just like you! If it was you and your family on those trucks, you’d better believe we’d be there for you too. It would be best for you to realize that we are not going away. What started with a handful of people bearing witness to suffering pigs at Quality Meat Packers in Toronto 5 years ago, is now over 150 groups worldwide who bear witness and growing daily. Consumers are waking up and taking action. For many decades people never thought about those packages of bloody flesh at the supermarket or who they were or where they came from. Now that information is available. People are also becoming aware that not only is this despicable treatment of animals completely unnecessary, but it’s making us sick and harming the planet. People are educating themselves and listening to their consciences. Farmers will not lose their jobs… they will simply evolve like all industries do. Humans still need to eat and we still need wonderful farmers to provide us with food and skilled truckers to transport that food – but preferably not food that screams and begs for his/her life. Find your heart and do the right thing.

    • Nathan Harris

      That’s a very nice rant, but it doesn’t change the fact that people will continue to eat meat. Most sane individuals can differentiate between animals and humans.

      • Louise

        Nathan…. humans ARE animals. Most sane people know that.

        • Nathan Harris

          Sorry but as humans we are separate from the rest of the animal species on planet earth. Every sane person recognizes that fact. I realize that PETA believes that “a dog is a rat is a boy” but you need to embrace some kind of lunacy to accept that premise. Here’s an example, if you or a loved one of yours was in immediate peril of death, I would risk my life to save yours or your loved one’s, but I wouldn’t risk my life to save your pet dog or rat. I would try and help, but I wouldn’t help to the same level. Can you not accept that this differentiates us as humans from other animals?

          • Louise

            Human arrogance and superiority complex illustrated, right here, at it’s finest.

            Speciesism – like racism and sexism – is the idea that belonging to the human animal species is enough reason to have greater rights than non-human animals. It’s a prejudice or bias in favour of the interests of members of one’s own species and against those of members of other species.

            Anyway, have a great day Nathan. Hope you manage to find your heart and see the human species for what they really are. Not better, not superior, just one of millions of species that share this planet (which we are very quickly destroying). Our insecurities lead us to believe we’re different, better, smarter, stronger, etc. but the reality is much, much different.

            Films recommended:
            Speciesism
            Cowspiracy
            Earthlings
            Forks Over Knives

          • Nathan Harris

            Speciesism, a made up word designed to guilt the human race into believing that humans aren’t the superior life force on the planet. The rest of those propaganda movies you list, are so full of mistruths that they aren’t worth commenting on. Your ideology is harmful to humans in general, and ridiculous to most people. Contrary to your misguided belief, my heart is just fine, and I would risk my life without a second thought if I thought the life of another human being was in imminent danger of death. I’m sorry, but the other animals we share the planet with will not be afforded the same consideration as that. Many animals will kill you without any thought whatsoever, so I’m not sure where your thinking comes from. That being said, I hope you have a great day as well, just don’t expect to be met with human kindness, if by chance you meet an animal who’s intentions are to eat you.

      • carter

        nope, some of us will quit, or at least try to

        • Nathan Harris

          Well, carter, good luck with that but it doesn’t change the fact that most people will continue to eat meat. I’m much looking forward to a delicious BBQ season.

          • carter

            me too, luckily the vegetarian sections of the grocery store are expanding and I’ll have a lot of new BBQ items to try

          • Nathan Harris

            Good for you but vegetarian steak, if such an oxymoron exists, doesn’t count.

          • carter

            Doesn’t count? Doesn’t count for what? If you’re just trying to be pointlessly antagonistic don’t reply.

          • Nathan Harris

            Nope not trying to be antagonistic at all just that meat is meat and vegetarian is vegetarian. Just don’t claim that a veggie burger is the same as a beef burger. Basically the same thing as margarine is not butter.

  • carter

    If the farmers are in a panic, they may want to start thinking like a consumer. People don’t like to know animals are suffering. How do these activists get people to care? They post actual horrific videos of animal abuse on farms. The vegetarian section of the grocery store is growing because people care about what happens to animals so why not prioritize compassionate measures instead of fight them?

    • Nathan Harris

      carter, if you think that farmers don’t care, or prioritize compassionate measures in their farming practices, you’ve never met an actual farmer, or set foot on an actual farm. Farmers are acutely aware of the needs and wants of the animals in their care. Farmers know that the comfort of the animals in their care directly impacts the profitability of their business, and they make sure that the animals get the best of attention 24 hours a day. You are spending too much energy listening to what the animal rights zealots are propagandizing, and not enough time familiarizing yourself with actual farmers. I say this in all due respect to you as someone who obviously cares about animals. You will find that farmers care equally as much as you.

      • carter

        I think I detect some propaganda here too- but I don’t see everything in black and white. If animals didn’t suffer the AR groups would have no awful videos to post, would they , in fact, they get actual video footage of animals in the meat and dairy industry suffering and being abused. Huh, wonder how that happens with all that caring oversight 24 hours a day.
        ‘Farms’ are increasingly big industrialized operations, owners are not even paying attention, let alone to individual animals. I’m sure the average small farmer cares for his animals, that situation is becoming a thing of the past. Feedlot operations pack on the pounds, downer cows are shipped, broken legs, no medical or compassionate care. Heck, even the rodeos haul the injured little ones away instead of putting them out of their suffering quickly…bad optics, you know. Tell me this, why would a compassionate caring farmer be against a thirsty pig getting a little water? Why is the ‘industry’ (aka farmers) pushing back against CFIA proposals to reduce stress and suffering due to long transport times? If there is co much concern for animal comfort why the pushback, Nathan?

        • Nathan Harris

          These are all valid questions, and ones that have answers I believe. I also think you are a reasonable person, unlike some others who have been commenting here and challenging the points I have presented. There are some misconceptions in the topics you have raised, and I don’t mind trying to answer, but I will ask one question of you before I do. Do you view animal agriculture as a legitimate endeavour, and a respectable business, that can be improved upon, or are you like the others commenting here who will basically only accept the end of animal agriculture. This is the over riding ideology that needs to be addressed first before we can have a reasoned discussion.