Several Ontario producer groups and at least one lawyer are sounding the alarm on animal rights activists getting off scot-free in the province.
Livestock producer groups are speaking out after a court decision this week to drop charges against an animal rights activist who recorded her trespassing on a Lucan-area hog farm multiple times in 2016 and 2017.
The trespasser also admitted to taking animals from the farm. Charges of break and enter and mischief to property worth more than $5,000 were laid, but as Kurtis Andrews, a farm lawyer based at Ottawa, explains, the crown attorney dropped the charges, citing “no reasonable prospect of conviction.”
This most recent dropping of charges spurred Andrews to publish an open letter to the Attorney General of Ontario this week, as Andrews says he’s “outraged” that such brazen disregard for the law would go unpunished.
Andrews joined host Lyndsey Smith on Friday’s edition of RealAg Radio to discuss why this case and others aren’t being brought all the way to trial when there is blatant disregard for Canada’s laws. What’s more, Andrews feels farmers are being disrespected and left vulnerable in their own homes, something that no one should have to experience within Canada.
Livestock groups agree. “Yesterday’s court decision negatively impacts all of Ontario agriculture,” says Keith Currie, president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture speaking on behalf of numerous farm organizations 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 says, in a press release.