All charges dropped against animal rights activist in pig farm break-in
Gerry Dewan, CTV London
Published Wednesday, May 1, 2019 5:14PM EDT
For the second time in less than a month Jenny McQueen and her supporters gathered in front of the London courthouse, with McQueen facing charges of break and enter and mischief.
McQueen is a member Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), an animal rights organization that opposes eating meat and, more specifically, factory farms.
In March 2018, McQueen posted a video online after she entered the Adare Pork breeding facility north of Lucan, Ont. describing conditions inside as cruel, and actually taking one of the piglets.
She says, "Family farms are not cute enterprises anymore. They're all big, white sheds in the countryside with animals stuffed inside."
Minutes after entering the courthouse on Wednesday, McQueen came out having learned the Crown had dropped all charges, telling the court there wasn't a reasonable chance of conviction.
That decision came despite the video McQueen recorded, which clearly showed her inside the facility and taking one of the piglets.
"While it's a victory for animal activism, it's not such a victory for the mother pigs and for all those animals in Canada, and around the world that are being hidden behind factory walls," McQueen says.
Among more than a dozen people on hand to support McQueen was Anita Krajnc, the woman charged, and also cleared, after she gave water to pigs headed to a slaughterhouse in Burlington in June of 2019.
She says, "The public has a lot of power. They're consumers, so if they start eating plant-based foods then they're not contributing to the suffering."
After learning her fate, McQueen and her supporters returned to the Adare Pork facility, laying flowers at the entrance.
About 30 metres down the lane heading to Adare was a security detail and a representative of Ontario Pork, keeping an eye on the activities of the animal rights activists.
Stacey Ash, the communications manager for Ontario Pork, says, "For anyone who values private property, who understands that farms really are, not just businesses but homes as well, it's very troubling to know that was not prosecutable."
Ash says pork producers are closely regulated and maintain high standards. She also points out that Adare Pork ownership has change since McQueen went inside the facility.
McQueen's lawyer, Gary Grill, says while this case has wrapped up, the activism isn't finished, "They will sacrifice their lives. They will sacrifice their liberties to make sure that the message gets out to the public at large. Their goal is to effect change."
And social media is a big part of that effort, with activists posting and streaming throughout the entire process.