Saturday, May 4, 2019

Trespass charges dropped

The Ontario government has dropped break and enter and mischief charges against an animal activist who has admitted trespassing into a hog barn near Lucan to shoot videos and steal two pigs.

That has enraged farmers.

“Yesterday’s court decision negatively impacts all of Ontario agriculture,” said Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture speaking on behalf of many others, including Ontario Pork, Farm & Food Care Ontario, Turkey Farmers of Ontario, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Chicken Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Fur Breeders’ Association, Veal Farmers of Ontario and Ontario Sheep Farmers.

“Our system of law and order is based on consequences for breaking the law. Without meaningful prosecutions that act as a deterrent to future crimes, activists become bolder in their actions. They’re also fundraising through their illegal activities, thus profiting from breaking the law,” Currie is quoted in a news release from Farm and Food Care Ontario.

The activist admitted in a media interview to recording video inside the barn on these occasions (2016 and 2017) and submitting it to various authorities for investigation, Farm and Food Care said.  

“For farmers and their families, having their homes and businesses invaded is deeply troubling – whether by large groups of protestors or stealth  incursions at night,” said Eric Schwindt, chair of Ontario Pork. 

“It’s important  to note that recent activist attempts to discredit farmers have resulted in no charges against the farms they targeted. For farmers, police and  regulators, these incidents tie up vital resources that could be put to better use elsewhere,” he said, apparently referring to a group that boldly marched into a hog barn in Wellington County.

Farm and Food Care said “farmers work closely with veterinarians, nutrition specialists, regulators and other experts to monitor and maintain the health and safety of their animals and property. 

“There are clear protocols in place with the authorities to investigate and address concerns that are brought forward. Healthy, safe farms are important for the people who live and work there, as well as for animals and consumers.