animal rights canada

Vegan activists swarm pig breeding farm in Canada

Eleven animal rights activists were arrested near Montreal on Saturday after breaking into a pig farm, refusing to leave, demanding attention from legislators and documenting the horrors they saw.

The occupation, organized by grassroots protest network Direct Action Everywhere (DXE), saw activists enter Les Porgreg pig breeding facility in Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., around 4 a.m. on December 7.

"Police here. We're insisting media be allowed inside. We're sitting with the pigs," wrote veteran activist Jenny McQueen in the caption of a livestreamed video from the facility.

In McQueen's livestream, activists wearing contamination suits can be seen sitting directly across from a row of despondent-looking adult pigs as police officers look on.

Subsequent videos posted by McQueen and other members of the protest group show animals covered in filth, scrambling for food, crammed into tiny spaces without room turn around and physically separated from their young.

"I'm honestly just numb right now... what I witnessed in this 'family farm' in Quebec was the worst thing I've ever seen in my life, it was like stepping into hell," wrote DXE member Niño Bonito of the experience.

"Pigs live covered in their own shit, crushing their babies to death, dead bodies scattered around, huge growth defects, blood, torture, living in small cages with no room to turn their whole lives," Bonito continued in the caption of a photo album from the event.

"Mothers having to piss on their own babies, pigs fattened up to the point where they can't stand, pigs pilled up on top of each other covered in shit, everything that is so wrong. All because people like 'bacon,' it's pathetic."

This is right after we entered, when we were trying to absorb our surroundings. So many mothers and babies living as property in industrial confinement. I’ve seen video of this many times, but it’s very different to be there and smell it and to have them looking right into your eyes. Please note that this was not a factory farm. This was a local, family-owned business. When people talk of buying local, or from smaller establishments, this is what they are supporting. Quebec recently passed a bill declaring animals as sentient beings; beings that feel as we feel. Yet this consideration was not extended to farm animals. Bigger, cleaner cages are not the solution. All animals deserve the same respect, the same freedom from oppression and suffering. We need justice for these animals and for all animals who suffer. We need animal liberation.

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According to McQueen, 12 police officers arrested 11 animal rights activists and charged each of them with break and enter. Their court dates have been set for January 27.

"These are the conditions inside the 'farm' in Montreal," McQueen wrote in the caption of yet another disturbing clip. "We should be arresting the 'farmer' for this. Not me or the other brave activists."

DXE is nonetheless still asking for a meeting with Quebec Premier Francois Legault to discuss animal rights, which was one of the demonstration's key goals.

Activists are also calling upon Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the House of Commons, and Canada's Justice Minister to "grant non-human animals the right to be rescued from situations of abuse."

It's all part of a larger global movement called Rose's law: a "civil disobedience" campaign in which activists from around the world ask their local lawmakers for an Animal Bill of Rights.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government is in the midst of passing what's been widely decried as an "ag-gag" law that strengthens penalties against farm trespassers while doing nothing more to protect farmed animals from abuse.

"Decades of work in the animal welfare movement have provided little relief for animals. In fact, thanks to new industrialized methods, the number of animals suffering from human tyranny is greater than ever," reads a website for the Rose's Law campaign.

"Asking for reforms and improvement in treatment isn't enough. Animals need legal protections. Animals need inalienable rights. Animals need a Bill of Rights."

Lead photo by

Shay Lee

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