Tag Archives: Toronto Pig Save

Pig Farmer Van Boekel Files Charges Against “Thirsty Pigs” Animal Activist (But Pleaded Guilty to Breaching Water Resources Act Himself)

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Katharina Rot - Pig Rescuer

Illustration courtesy of Katharina Rot

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Torontonians in particular are by now very familiar with the “Thirsty Pigs” court case whereby Van Boekel Farms pressed charges against Anita Krajnc. Dr. Krajnc, who is a principal activist behind the peaceful “Save“ vigils (Toronto Pig Save,Toronto Cow Save, Toronto Chicken Save), was charged under the Criminal Code with mischief under $5,000 for providing water to pigs in a truck en route to their slaughter at Fearman’s pig slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario.

On a hot day in June, a Van Boekel Hog Farms trailer full of pigs was stopped at an intersection.  Krajnc and other activists gave water to them in squirt bottles, an action that the court disclosure describes as: “spraying an unknown liquid into the trailer where the hogs were situated.” The concern is that, even though there seems to be no question that water was the liquid given to the pigs, the action is potentially “tampering with the food supply,” although not in the same way many farmers themselves tamper with the food supply by keeping animals in filthy confined pens during lives which are nasty, brutish, and short.

“In-transit loss” is a term used to describe pigs that die after leaving the farm but before being killed at the abattoir

Big Meat certainly does not want anyone exposing the fact that the pigs often arrive at the slaughterhouse panting and foaming at the mouth (pigs cannot sweat). One might say that the charging of Anita Krajnc has backfired since it generated phenomenal support at the courthouse,  in the media,  and via petitions that have now been signed by more than 100,000 people.  More people have been touched by the suffering of pigs and will consider a plant-based diet.  Additionally, it sent people (like me) on little internet fact-finding missions that revealed that Van Boekel’s own farm operations were hardly above reproach. Van Boekel Hogs Farms Inc. of Woodstock, Van Boekel Holdings Inc. and Eric Van Boekel were originally fined a total of $345,000 for a manure spill in the spring of 2007. Van Boekel must have felt as though he was bleeding-out himself when he was hit with an additional 25% victim surcharge that elevated the total to $431,250. He also faced a possible 30 days in jail. He was convicted of breaking three different acts – the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Environmental Protection Act and the Nutrient Management Act – and was sentenced in Woodstock. Van Boekel (who claimed he was the victim of a “witch hunt”) immediately appealed the decision and was granted a new trial, where he was found not guilty of charges under the Environmental Protection Act and Nutrient Management Act, but pled guilty to offences under the Ontario Water Resources Act.

There’s really no shortage of video evidence compiled by Toronto Pig Save showing that in summer the pigs are often desperately overheated – all farm animals can and do suffer from heat stress – signs are panting,  increased salivation, drooling or foaming, increased respiration or laboured breathing,  lethargy,  or even unconsciousness. Even when outside temperatures are not extreme, temperatures inside a trailer can rise dramatically if it is slowed by construction, stuck in traffic or otherwise forced to sit stationary, such as during unloading or at border crossings.

Consider also that:

  • The Codes of Practice for the Care and Handling of Pigs (the absolute bare minimum standard) recommends travelling in off-hours and providing protection for pigs in the trailer, including watering and misting.
  • The group Canadians For the Ethical Treatment of Farm Animals says: “To minimize risks of heat stress, farm animals should only be transported during the cooler hours of the day. Space per animal inside transport trucks should be increased by reducing stocking densities to ensure proper air flow between animals and, in the case of pigs, to allow them to lie down. Trucks should be tarped and well ventilated. Water should be provided regularly on long journeys.”
  • Canadian transport regulations, the Health of Animals Act, Part XII, Sections 143, (1)(d) and (e) state that “No person shall transport or cause to be transported any animal in a railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft, vessel, crate or container if injury or undue suffering is likely to be caused to the animal by reason of undue exposure to the weather or inadequate ventilation.”
  • An observational study has shown that, not surprisingly, the number of in-transit pig losses was greater at higher internal trailer temperatures, in some cases being as high as 12.5% of the total number of pigs transported.

Photos below by L. Jorgensen and Twyla Francois.  The pig with the leg trapped in the trailer was eventually helped by activists at a Fearman’s Pig slaughterhouse protest.  We wonder how long the pig travelled like this and why no one exercised greater care in loading and inspecting the trailer.  The dead pigs on the grass were photographed in Texas,  delivered to that state by a Manitoba hauler who evidently did not have the proper paperwork, and so claimed he could not unseal the trailer.  The pigs were left on board in the sweltering heat for days.

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We are gradually moving to a police state that demands criminal charges for inconsequential matters. It strikes me as odd that a court can convict someone of “spraying an unknown liquid” when it is known or should be known by now that the liquid was water and that this was a prosocial act to relieve thirst and heatstroke. I’m sure that this alleged concern by Van Boekel and Fearman’s did not deter them from slaughtering this trailer of pigs (or any other load to whom water was provided in the past).

 

Call to Action – Please sign the petitions

Care2.com (This petition has surpassed 100,000 signatures!)

The Petition Site (also over 100,000 signatures!)

Change.org

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Unlost and Found: Animal Activist’s Stolen Camera Returned After Meandering Journey

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Twyla Francois - Animal ProtectorWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

Art by: Twyla Francois Art

An animal advocate’s camera is a priceless tool that often endures many indignities while capturing the inhumanity of a food animal’s arduous trip to the slaughterhouse. Anita Krajnc’s pro-level Canon cameras, used for Toronto Pig Save vigils and other events, have been inadvertently drowned in fair-trade vegan hot chocolate, and brusquely dropped into mud. But the last Canon camera owned by Anita was surely thought to be irretrievably lost when it was stolen along with her purse in broad daylight in December 2014 in Toronto.

At this point, several kind people came forward to purchase a replacement camera for Anita, who moved on from the experience and perhaps did not realize that a trail of breadcrumbs had been left that enabled the camera to find its way back to her more than six months later….

When the camera had previously fallen in the mud, it was taken to Canon for repairs, so they of course recorded the serial number along with Anita’s contact info. Sometime after the camera was stolen in Toronto, it was purchased by the good Samaritan in our story, who happened to live in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – about 2,000 kilometres away. The woman who purchased the camera for only $100 thought that she was buying a point-and-shoot camera, but in another fortuitous event, her photographer friend let her know that it was actually a professional camera with a great prime lens. Suspecting that the camera was stolen, Doreen – the good Samaritan, contacted Canon, who of course had the serial number on-hand and in turn contacted the last registered owner – Anita. Doreen ultimately turned the camera in to the Eskasoni RCMP office, who looked up the police report and returned it in the mail to Anita, who must surely have been thunderstruck at the chain of events!Twyla Francois - Direct Action

Through the police, Anita was able to connect with Doreen to send her a Vegan gift basket. The recovered camera is now available for others to use for animal rights photography.

There are many heroes and heroines in this story. For her honesty, Doreen was sent $125 to cover the cost of the camera and additional amount as a “Thank You” for knowing in her heart that something was wrong with the purchase of such a high-end camera at such a cheap price. She really did something exceptional by returning the stolen camera, believing that she would never recover her $100, by empathizing with someone she had never met.  And the karma train took a bit more than six months,  but Anita Krajnc was ultimately repaid for her acts of kindness towards animals….