Peaceful_protest_meat_plant. Amy Chen.

Animal rights activists decry Ontario bill that would limit farm protests


Proposed law hikes fines for trespassing on farms, prohibits interfering with animals

Amanda Pfeffer reporting for CBC News reports:

Animal rights groups have begun protesting and petitioning against Ontario Bill 156 — a law aimed at curbing activism against farms and farming practices.

The Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019  was introduced in the Ontario legislature late last year.

Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman said the bill comes in response to complaints from farmers about animal rights groups trespassing on their private property. 

In debate, Hardeman called the bill a “bio-security” measure, to protect food safety. The bill is now in its second reading.

“Bio-security”[1] measure?
This has nothing whatsoever to do with “food safety”.

If passed, the bill would increase fines for anyone caught trespassing on farmland and food processing plants, and introduce new measures against interfering with animal transportation. 

The law would also make it illegal to gain access to a farm under “false pretences” — effectively making undercover filming an offence.

Undercover filming is a powerful tool for exposing the horrors of the slaughter of “food animals”. This is why slaughterhouses want this law. Again, it has nothing to do with food safety.

“It will stop people from seeing animal suffering,” said Lucie Tsi, who works with the Ottawa group Animal Rebellion.

She fears the proposed law will halt animal activism.

If caught trespassing on a farm, offenders could be fined as much as $25,000, a significant hike from the current $10,000 maximum under the Trespass to Property Act.

It would also introduce fines for interacting with farm animals which are being transported by a vehicle without permission.

Animal rights activist Anita Krajnc gives water to a pig in a truck in a handout photo. Krajnc was acquitted on charges of mischief, but a proposed Ontario law would make her action illegal. (HO-Elli Garlin/CP)

Krajnc case

Tsi points to the example of Ontario activist Anita Krajnc who made headlines in 2017 when she was arrested for giving water to pigs on the back of a transport truck on the way to a slaughterhouse.

Krajnc was acquitted on charges of mischief, but if the new law is passed, similar actions could be found in violation.

Farmers stressed and scared

Farmers have been lobbying for legislation to protect them from the threat of more “aggressive tactics” from animal rights activists.

“It poses stress on farmers, and anxiety that it might happen to them,” said Mireille Leroux, first vice-president of the Union des Cultivateurs Franco-Ontariens.

Notice they state the possible “threat of more aggressive tactics”. Aggressive tactics … such as . . . ?

And these people are afraid? People who terrify and brutally kill animals and cut up their dead, maimed bodies for meat and byproducts as a regular job . . . are afraid of those who peacefully protest against it?

Ottawa protests

A group of about 20 animal rights activists showed up at Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park with signs and leaflets, encouraging the public to sign a petition against the law. It was one of several protests planned over the next month.

[1] Biosecurity is set of measures aimed at preventing the introduction and/or spread of harmful organisms, in order to minimise the risk of transmission of infectious diseases to people, animals and plants caused by viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms.

Related Reading

What Do Ontario’s New Slaughter Laws Mean For Animals?; Animal Justice Canada; December 12, 2018

Recommended Reading for excellent reporting and resource material.

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