Protestors gather at the BC SPCA following the first court appearance of the four individuals charged in the Excelsior Hog Farm incident from April 2019. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Protestors gather at the BC SPCA following the first court appearance of the four individuals charged in the Excelsior Hog Farm incident from April 2019. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

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

Protests occur at Abbotsford Provincial Courthouse and BC SPCA following Thursday’s appearance

Four animal rights activists were in a provincial courtroom Thursday (Sept. 3) in their first hearing for break-and-enter and mischief charges linked to a large protest at an Abbotsford hog farm last year.

Dozens of fellow activists lined up at 9 a.m.outside the courthouse in Abbotsford in support of Amy Soranno, Jeff Luke Rigear, Roy Makoto Sasano and Nicholas Steven George Schafer.

twitter.com

RELATED: Four activists face charges linked to 2019 Abbotsford hog-farm protest

The four ultimately now face 21 charges, with Soranno herself facing five counts of break and enter and two counts of mischief. They will next appear at Abbotsford Provincial Court on Nov. 2.

Soranno spoke to media outside of the courthouse and stated that she and the others gathered are upset because they say Excelsior Hog Farm should be the ones facing charges.

“Excelsior Hog Farm was caught committing criminal animal abuse,” she said, claiming video footage shows workers shocking pigs in the face with electrical prods and many other abusive behaviours. “And what consequences did they face – there were none. The industry abuses animals within communities and there is zero oversight on farms. The industry regulates itself and that should concern anyone who cares about transparency and accountability.”

The BC SPCA investigated the original claims of animal abuse submitted by Soranno and her group, but in May of 2019 they said there is not sufficient evidence to support the recommendation of charges to Crown counsel. The case was reopened in August 2019, but the same decision was made not to pursue charges. That decision was one of the reasons why a similar gathering of protestors occurred at the Abbotsford SPCA at 9 a.m.

twitter.com

A press release added that protestors believe BC SPCA has not held Excelsior Hog Farm accountable for their proven criminal animal cruelty and the charges are partially due to the SPCA turning in whistleblowers, despite assurances of anonymity and with no warrant from the police.

The group also believes that the BC SPCA is working with the police and the factory farms, rather than on behalf of the animals. An online petition calling for charges against Excelsior has gathered more than 30,000 signatures, but the BCSPCA has closed the file.

RELATED: BC SPCA says no charges against Abbotsford hog farm

“The system is failing animals unimaginably,” Soranno said. “Excelsior Hog Farm has clearly committed several instance of animal cruelty, but they are still regarded as one of the best in the industry. And if such immense suffering is the norm on the so-called best hog farms, then we encourage the public to consider what happens at the worst of them.”

Speaking outside of the BC SPCA, Sasano said this case is an important one for both people and animals.

“We’re going to be using this case to bring even more and more attention to the injustice that happened at Excelsior and what happens to animals around the world,” he said. “When this is done, we will have Excelsior’s feet over the fire, we’re going to have the BC SPCA’s feet over the fire because they’re not doing their jobs. We’re going to have the entire system and the Abbotsford PD exposed for their part in protecting animal abusers and going after us – the people trying to protect the animals.”

RELATED: VIDEO: One person arrested at protest at Abbotsford pig farm

Last year, dozens of activists stormed a Harris Road hog farm to protest what they said was the inhumane treatment of animals at the site. More than 60 people rushed into Excelsior Hog Farm in late April 2019, with dozens sitting “in solidarity” with pigs.

The protest took less place than a month after PETA released hidden-camera footage which it said showed horrific conditions of animals at the farm.

www.facebook.com

Courtprotest

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

Just Posted

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared over at Eden Gardens. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Nanaimo’s Eden Gardens

One staff member and one resident tested positive for the virus over past two weeks

Gabriola Island poet Naomi Beth Wakan’s latest book is ‘Wind on the Heath.’ (Photo courtesy Elias Wakan)
Former Nanaimo poet laureate revisits past poems in latest collection

Gabriola Island’s Naomi Beth Wakan presents career-spanning ‘Wind on the Heath’

An app available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website can help students during COVID times. (Stock photo)
New library app can help families with online learning

Sample tests, virtual flashcards available through Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale as owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

The current boat used by Rugged Coast Research Society for remote shoreline cleanup operations will be replaced by a landing craft that will allow society members to haul four times as much marine garbage per trip from Vancouver Island’s remote shorelines. (Agathe Bernard photo/Rugged Coast Research Society)
Nanaimo-based research group needs bigger boat for coastal cleanups

Rugged Coast Research Society raising cash for landing craft to pull trash from remote shorelines

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
UPDATED: Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1; Island Health responds

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read