“The Excelsior 4” appeared in Abbotsford provincial court on Monday morning (Nov. 2) to plead not guilty to a combined total of 21 charges. (Submitted photo)

“The Excelsior 4” appeared in Abbotsford provincial court on Monday morning (Nov. 2) to plead not guilty to a combined total of 21 charges. (Submitted photo)

Abbotsford hog-farm protestors plead not guilty to 21 charges

‘Excelsior 4’ make second appearance Monday in provincial court

Four people charged in relation to a protest in April 2019 at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford pleaded not guilty Monday morning (Nov. 2) to a total of 21 charges.

Amy Soranno, Jeff Rigear, Roy Sasano, and Nick Schafer – who refer to themselves as the “Excelsior 4” – made their second appearance in Abbotsford provincial court. Their charges include break-and-enter and mischief.

Soranno said the charges are an opportunity.

“We look forward to our trial, where we will further expose the rampant violence and suffering in animal agriculture, and the complicity of our justice and enforcement systems,” she said.

After their court appearance, the group joined supporters for a demonstration at the Vancouver headquarters of the BC SPCA. They are demanding that the agency “use its authority to take action against Excelsior for its well-documented abuse of animals.”

RELATED: Four Abbotsford pig-farm activists now facing 21 charges after first court appearance

RELATED: One person arrested at protest at Abbotsford pig farm

“At the very least, the BCSPCA should be publicly condemning Excelsior Hog Farm, and pressuring BC Pork to remove Excelsior’s owner, Ray Binnendyk, from their board of directors,” Soranno said in a prepared statement.

“They should also warn the entire industry that what Excelsior did is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Instead, the BCSPCA has breached its own confidentiality policy by turning in a whistleblower to the police.”

The group said they hope the government will take action over animal-cruelty investigations.

The Excelsior 4 were charged in July of this year after dozens of activists stormed the Excelsior Hog Farm on Harris Road on April 28, 2019. The protest took place less than a month after PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released hidden-camera footage which it said showed horrific conditions of animals at the farm.

The farm’s owners have disputed the claims, and said they had found hidden cameras on the property on March 23, 2019.

The BC SPCA investigated the original claims of animal abuse submitted by Soranno and her group, but in May 2019 they said there was insufficient evidence to support the recommendation of charges to Crown counsel. The case was reopened in August 2019, but the same decision was made to not pursue charges against Excelsior.

The SPCA has said it does not condone what was in the video but they could not move forward with the case because the sole evidence was a video that was obtained illegally and would not be admissible in court.

RELATED: SPCA responds to claims from accused in Excelsior Hog Farm case

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chris Sholberg, City of Nanaimo culture and heritage planner, left, presents a first-place award to Kevin Brandt for his restoration of his home’s exterior to its original state. Brandt is the first recipient of the Heritage House Renovation Awards, created by Nanaimo Community Archives to recognize renovation projects taken on in 2020 during the pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo hands out its first heritage house renovation award

Awards created to recognize heritage renovation projects taken on during the pandemic

A rendering of the Lumina building proposed for 41-45 Haliburton St. in Nanaimo. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Next project proposed as part of a series of buildings on Nanaimo’s Haliburton Street

Five-storey building near Finlayson Street will include 38 residential units

Auto thief in black balaclava trying to break into car with screwdriver. (Pixabay photo)
Island hikers and park users warned to keep valuables in vehicles out of sight

Spring weather draws more hikers out to rural parking lots, where thieves are at work

Capt. Bryun Ashlie, left, and Lieut. Stu Kenning, of Nanaimo Fire Rescue, tackle fires burning in two shopping carts in St. George Ravine Park, Thursday afternoon. The cause of the fire, which destroyed both carts and their contents, is undetermined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Shopping carts found burning in Nanaimo park

Firefighters douse flaming carts and contents on asphalt pathway

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a motorcyclist who refused to stop for police near the Nanaimo River Road and White Rapids Road intersection on April 10. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP seek ‘stunting’ motorcyclist, who fled from police

Rider spotted near intersection of Nanaimo River Road and White Rapids Road April 10

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. Farnworth says the government will release details of what is considered essential travel later in the week where the province is considering using roadblocks to limit the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

A downed power line has sparked a brush fire along Yellow Point Road south of Nanaimo. (Cole Schisler/Black Press)
Vancouver Islanders warned of fire risk caused by dry conditions

As dry spell poised to end, officials warn of risks involved with backyard burning

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
BREAKING: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

The conservation service confirmed they do not relocate cougars from settled areas but that euthanasia is not necessarily the fate for an animal in the Fanny Bay area. The hope is that the animal will move on to wild areas. (File photo)
Woman hopes cat-stalking Fanny Bay cougar can avoid euthanization

Conservation officers do not relocate the animals from Vancouver Island

Tofino residents expressed frustration over a recent post by Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett that falsely claimed all residents have been vaccinated. (Westerly file photo)
Resort owner apologizes for suggesting Tofino is safe to travel to

Long Beach Lodge owner Tim Hackett apologizes to community and visitors

Most Read