A group of activists with the Okanagan Animal Save group hold lit candles near the fence surrounding the Rocana Meats facility in Salmon Arm during a protest Monday, Oct. 1. (Facebook/Okanagan Animal Save)

A group of activists with the Okanagan Animal Save group hold lit candles near the fence surrounding the Rocana Meats facility in Salmon Arm during a protest Monday, Oct. 1. (Facebook/Okanagan Animal Save)

Activists mount protest outside B.C. pig slaughterhouse

Protestors quickly disperse after call to RCMP reporting trespassing

In the early hours of the morning on Monday, Oct. 1, a small group of activists huddled together outside of the Rocana Meats processing facility near Salmon Arm, B.C. to protest what they claim to be unethical treatment of animals.

Amy Sorrano, a member of the activist group Okanagan Animal Save, which held the vigil, says the purpose of the protest was largely to draw attention to the ways animals are slaughtered, which they feel are inhumane.

“Animal agriculture relies on secrecy, but no reasonable person would want to continue supporting these industries if they knew the truths behind them,” Sorrano said.

Dave DeBoer, manager of the Rocana Meats plant, says this isn’t the first time the group has shown up at his facility.

“This is the third time they have been here, and they’ve been other places too, like Colonial Farms and D Dutchmen (Dairy),” DeBoer says.

The situation was defused quickly, he explains, as he chose to simply call the RCMP rather than engage in arguments with the activists.

Related: B.C. Horse angels seek to end practice of horse slaughter

“I came in and they are standing there blocking the driveway, and I say ‘get the heck out of here.’ I mean it’s not the first time; it would be different if it was the first time,” DeBoer said. “First of all they were trespassing; I told them to get off the property and I called the RCMP and they disappeared in about five minutes.”

The activists also shared a video of the vigil on social media, in which they claim viewers can hear the sounds of slaughter and screams of pigs.

Facebook/Okanagan Animal Save

Sorrano says “listening to the pigs’ blood-curdling cries for help as they were painfully gassed is unimaginably heartbreaking.”

However, DeBoer disputes the legitimacy of the video, particularly the claim that pigs could be heard from where the activists were standing. Sorrano said a re-edited version of the video features undercover footage from other slaughterhouses in Canada and the United States, not Rocana.

“I have seen the video, and it’s a false scenario,” says DeBoer. “They amplified this pig scream, the pigs are just sitting in the barn… There is no way if they were standing there they could hear that; it’s a fabricated situation. I was there, I am there every day.”

Sorrano clarifies the footage was added to that particular version of the video by a third party, and the video Okanagan Animal Save set out to produce only featured activists standing on the property as part of the vigil.

DeBoer notes that he respects the right to speak out on issues, though he questions how effective the group’s tactics are.

“Everyone is free to protest, I am not arguing that point. They have their own cause, you know you can stand there and talk until you are blue in the face. The more I ignore them maybe the better it is, but they were trespassing,” he says. “They should just hand out pamphlets in the mall or something to tell people this is what’s going on. But don’t stand in front of the slaughterhouse, you just make a mockery of things.”

DeBoer also notes that one of his employees refused to come back to work after the protest was held as they felt threatened and harassed by the protesters’ presence there.

Prior to the vigil held at Rocana Meats, the group was also protesting outside a chicken slaughterhouse in Armstrong, according to Sorrano. They are also the same organization that staged a protest against the dairy industry outside of the D Dutchmen farm in Sicamous in July.

Related: Okanagan Animal Save protests at D Dutchmen Dairy in Sicamous

Sorrano says “we frequent many establishments… because animal exploitation is everywhere.”

The activists claim the slaughtering process used for pigs and chickens is slow and painful, using carbon dioxide which “burns them from the inside out,” according to the group’s social media posts.

According to information available through the Humane Slaughter Association, carbon dioxide is used to render animals unconscious before slaughter and is used because it has a “direct anaesthetic effect.”

“We have an inspected place, we slaughter the pigs in the most humane way of all the plants in Canada,” DeBoer says. “You have electrocution where they kick and scream and all kinds of stuff, but we put them to sleep, we anaesthetize them like at a hospital. We use a mixture of CO2 and other gases and they are sound asleep when they come out, no screaming or kicking or anything.”

The Humane Slaughter Association’s website states that though studies have shown this method to significantly reduce the stress of chickens going to slaughter, there is still little consensus on its effectiveness with pigs, which require a much higher concentration of the gas to be incapacitated.


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at Nanaimo hospital appears to be contained, says Island Health

Chief medical health officer urges patients to meet scheduled appointments

Beef to the person in the little car who tailgates me with high beams along Kilpatrick and Jingle Pot in the morning and lays on the horn when I turn left onto East Wellington. If following the speed limit is not going to get you where you are going on time please do not take it out on me. May I suggest you leave a bit sooner.
Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

(News Bulletin file)
COVID-19 affects student enrolment and funding for Nanaimo school district

More distance-ed students leads to yet-to-be divvied out money, says SD68 secretary-treasurer

An Island Health graph showing COVID-19 cases in the central Island by local health area between Dec. 27 and Jan. 23. (Island Health image)
Central Island’s COVID-19 case spike shifting, says Island Health

Cowichan Valley has seen the highest number of cases, but Nanaimo and south Island seeing upticks

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on B.C. nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of hospital nurses in Victoria region

Flowers poke through the snow in Courtenay as the area got a taste of winter weather this week. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Vancouver Island not out of the winter woods quite yet: meteorologist

“It’s winter; we’ve got to get through it together.”

Sooke’s Amy McLaughlin holds Theodore, a bunny who will be going to a new owner in Nanaimo within the coming days if all goes will at an upcoming bunny play-date. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
Vancouver Island woman looking to hop into bigger space for bunny rescue operation

Amy McLaughlin has rescued more than 400 bunnies, pushing for the capacity to help more

Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Search called off for small plane that went down in rough water south of Victoria

Plane bound for Port Angeles from Alaska believed to have one occupant, an Alaskan pilot

This coming Thursday, Jan. 28, is Bell Let’s Talk Day, and conversations about mental health would serve many of us well as the pandemic persists. (Zackary Drucker/The Gender Spectrum Collection)
Editorial: Let’s talk about our mental health in a pandemic

Bell Let’s Talk Day is Thursday, Jan. 28

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

A concrete seawall built to prevent erosion on a property on Driftwood Drive on Mudge Island. (Islands Trust image)
Appeal Court says Mudge Island homeowners’ seawall has to go

Court decides right to guard against erosion isn’t a ‘privileged’ property right

Most Read