MILTON, Ont. — The preliminary hearing for a woman charged with mischief after providing water to pigs en route to a slaughterhouse has been set for the end of November.
Animal rights activist Anita Krajnc says she was on a roadway median giving water to pigs on a hot day in June as trucks hauling the animals stopped at an intersection in Burlington, Ont. One of the trucks’ drivers took exception.
An argument ensued, which was captured on video, that shows Krajnc feeding water to some of the pigs via a water bottle she pushed through the slats of the truck’s trailer as the driver demanded she stop.
The pigs’ owner, Eric Van Hoekel, complained to police the next day and charges were formally laid against Krajnc in October.
She says she will continue her activism with the group she founded, Toronto Pig Save, and plans to give water to pigs near the same slaughterhouse on Thursday, although these animals aren’t likely to be dealing with any heat issues – the forecast calls for rain and a high of 19C.
“Everyone knows that compassion is not a crime. In fact, I did nothing wrong when I gave water to thirsty pigs and many of you have given water to thirsty pigs and we’ll continue to do that,” Krajnc said outside of the courthouse in Milton, adding that a pre-trial date had been set for Nov. 30.
“So, at that time, we will determine the length of the trial and so basically I’m being charged with criminal mischief, interference with the use, enjoyment of and operation of property. Who’s the property? The pigs? In our eyes, the pigs are not property. They are someone and that’s why we’re here. We did nothing wrong.
“I think it’s our duty to help animals to help animals who are suffering and it’s a duty we all share.”
Van Hoekel says he will continue to use the law to its full extent if Krajnc tries once again to provide his pigs with a sip of water before they’re slaughtered.
“Everybody has a right to do a protest,” he said.
“If someone wants to voice an opinion it can be heard in this country … as I respect their right, I would hope that they would respect my right.
Van Hoekel said his vehicle was approached by Krajnc at a stoplight in a busy intersection raised safety issues with him.
“We cannot jeopardize people putting foreign substances into our transport vehicles. I don’t know what they’re putting in and nor should they be putting in anything into my vehicle,” he said.
“We did our due diligence by calling the police and addressing the concerns. They did their own independent investigation and came up with the conclusion that their actions warranted charges.”
With files from Mark McAllister and Adam Miller