Two animal rights activists have been given 30-day jail sentences after exposing animal cruelty at a Canadian hog farm.
Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer entered Excelsior Hog Farm in 2019. They were convicted on one count of break-and-enter and mischief.
Along with activists Roy Sasano and Geoff Regier, Soranna and Schafer were arrested after a mass protest at the farm. Together, they were known as the Excelsior 4, but Regier and Sasano were cleared of their charges.
Speaking to Plant Based News (PBN), Soranno said that they found pregnant pigs crammed inside metal cages unable to move. They also found dead pigs rotting in pens with other live pigs who were eating their bodies. The dumpsters were full of dead pigs and piglets.
Cruelty at the farm
The hidden camera footage also captured workers shocking pigs in the face with electric prods, repeatedly hitting and kicking the animals, and cutting off the tails and testicles of screaming piglets with no pain relief.
At the trial, the defense was blocked from showing footage of the animal cruelty at the farm. They were also prevented by the judge from arguing that the hog farm had engaged in unlawful animal abuse.
“This case shows in stark terms the utter failure of the animal agriculture industry and law enforcement to protect farmed animals from abuse,” said acquitted Excelsior 4 defendant Roy Sasano.
“The Crown is more interested in criminalizing and jailing nonviolent activists than holding animal abusers accountable. Excelsior Hog Farm has never had to answer for its well-documented criminal animal cruelty.”
A hidden industry
Despite the fact that the majority of the public buys animal products, most are unaware of how they are produced.
“As it stands right now, the public does not have the right to know what the conditions inside any animal farm in British Columbia looks like,” Schafer told PBN.
“There is a severe lack of transparency within the animal agriculture industry, and they continue to propagate misinformation of quaint, happy, clean farms. We hope that this case has shed some light on exactly what these farms look like and how animals are housed and treated within this industry.
Ag-gag laws, which make it illegal to expose conditions in farms, are being passed in a number of provinces in Canada. British Columbia, where this protest took place, doesn’t have any such legislation, but the activists were prosecuted nevertheless.
“This demonstrates just how much the animal agriculture industry has to hide, which should be of concern to everyone,” said Sorrano.
Soranno and Schafter’s sentence will begin on October 21 at the Okanagan Corrections Centre. They are both appealing their convictions.
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