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Animal rights activist gives water to pigs being transported on Manitoba highway

Hog producers are raising concerns about protesters approaching their trucks and trying to give water to their pigs. As Global's Joe Scarpelli reports, animal rights activists say they're just trying to help.

Video circulating online showing pigs enjoying an unexpected drink on the side of a Manitoba highway has hog producers raising concerns, while animal rights activists say they’re just trying to show compassion.

Justin Reineke was driving along Highway 1 near Ste. Anne on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 26 when he discovered a stuck transport truck carrying pigs. He pulled over and attempted to quench their thirst, as he recorded video of it on his cell phone.

“I could tell they were in distress,” Reineke said. “It was about 30 degrees, maybe 32 degrees, and it was in the middle of the number 1 highway and it was full sun. ”

READ MORE: Ontario activist on trial for giving water to pigs arrested at slaughterhouse protest

The truck carrying the pigs had a back wheel stuck in a ditch and was waiting to be towed out.

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The 68 pigs were on the road for about two hours and were given water both before they hit the road and after they arrived at the assembly yard, according to the trucking company.

Regardless, Reineke said animals shouldn’t be transported in extreme heat.

“They were all super happy and drinking the water and grunting and making good noises,” he said

READ MORE: Ontario woman who gave water to pigs headed to slaughter compared to Gandhi, Mandela at trial

Cheryl Sobie, co-organizer of animal rights group Manitoba Animal Save, supports Reineke’s decision to provide water to the pigs. She said her organization has taken similar steps in the past.

Sobie also took video on Tuesday near Headingley, where she and others approached a truck at a stoplight to show the condition of the pigs in the trailer.

“A pig, chicken, cow is no different than a dog or a cat that you have at home,” she said. “They all feel pain, they all feel love.”

READ MORE: Mischief charge against Ontario woman who gave water to slaughter-bound pigs dismissed

Manitoba Pork is urging people to stay away from vehicles carrying livestock.

“Please do not interfere,” general manager Andrew Dickson told Global News Wednesday. “Someone is going to get hurt badly one of these days.”

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Dickson also said the animals are already on a strict diet, which is why people shouldn’t give them any food or liquids while they are being transported.

“It puts the driver in an awkward situation,” Dickson said. “He does not know what liquids are being given to these animals so it raises all kinds of issues about animal welfare and so on.”

Despite the warning from Manitoba Pork, Reineke said he’d offer water to pigs on the side of the highway again.

“If I see an animal in distress I think it’s our duty to help them out.”