On Wednesday 24th August, the two-day trial that has been highly anticipated for over a year, gaining worldwide news coverage and public attention, finally began as Anita Krajnc, co-founder of Toronto Pig Save, appeared in court.
With dozens of animal rights activists gathered outside the courthouse, and every major news channel from Canada in attendance, the overwhelming atmosphere suggested that it was in fact animal agriculture that had been put on trial, not Anita Krajnc.
Ms Krajnc pleaded ‘not guilty’ to charges related to feeding a thirsty pig water, on June 22nd 2015. The prosecution maintained that Ms Krajnc had been interfering with the pig owner’s property, whilst she defended her actions as an act of compassion towards an animal in need.
Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf, the truck driver, stated that on the date of the incident, he transported approximately 190 hogs between 4-6 months of age, 110 kms (1.5 hours) from Van Boekel Farms in Norwich to Fearmans Pork Inc in Burlington. He said the value of the load was approximately $45,000, and in his Police report stated that his main concern was his livelihood.
Eric Van Boekel, factory farmer, stated that he sends 110,000 pigs per year to slaughter, has 4500 sows, and his farm generates gross revenue in excess of $10 million per year.
Armaiti May, DVM, expert in animal welfare and member of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and American Veterinary Medical Association, testified that the pigs appeared to be in severe distress, dehydrated, and thirsty due to the excessive heat that day. She stated that giving them water would alleviate that distress.
For over five years Toronto Pig Save has been bearing witness to animals arriving for slaughter, often stopping trucks and giving water to thirsty pigs. The vigils have resulted in viral videos including 11 million views on “Gary TV’s Best video you will ever see”.
The trial continues on October 3rd, November 1st and November 10th. On October 3rd, Ms Krajnc will be testifying and Dr Weis will be called to the stand to talk about the environmental impact of factory farms. On November 1st, Dr Jenkins, nutrition expert, will testify about the nutritional impact of meat consumption and Dr Marino, renowned cognitive behaviourist, will discuss the cognitive abilities of pigs.
On the final scheduled date of November 10th, the court will hear closing submissions from both the Crown and the defence. The judge will then either rule on the case immediately, or reserve his decision to allow him to fully consider the evidence given.
For more information, please contact: Anita Krajnc, TorontoPigSave@gmail.com, 416-825-6080, James Oso (416-272-4124), or Robin Bryce (519-280-2353) co-organisers of Toronto Pig Save. http://www.TorontoPigSave.org