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Supporters gather outside Fort Macleod courthouse as turkey farm protesters face charges

A dozen supporters gathered outside the Fort Macleod, Alta., courthouse on Wednesday morning, as members of their group, Liberation Lockdown, face charges after breaking into a southern Alberta turkey farm over the summer. Emily Olsen reports.

About a dozen supporters gathered outside the Fort Macleod, Alta. courthouse on Wednesday morning, as members of their group “Liberation Lockdown” face charges after breaking into a southern Alberta turkey farm over the summer.

On Labour Day, about 30 activists planted themselves inside the Jumbo Valley Hutterite turkey farm, protesting what they alleged was the inhumane treatment of animals.

READ MORE: Dozens occupy turkey barn in southern Alberta to protest animal living conditions

Three adults and one youth are facing charges: Maxwell Ming Mah, 46, of Edmonton; Claire Buchanan, 28, of Calgary; Kennadi Rae Herbert, 24, of Pincher Creek; and a 16-year-old female from Calgary. They’ve all been charged with one count of break and enter to commit mischief.

Mah is an employee at Global Edmonton. He does not yet have a lawyer.

The court initially imposed conditions against the adults accused, ruling that each of them stay away from farms and farm animals.

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READ MORE: 3 adults, 1 youth charged after southern Alberta turkey farm protest

But on Wednesday, the judge granted amendments on that condition so they could continue to work and volunteer at animal sanctuaries.

“I actually wasn’t allowed to go within one kilometre [of] cattle and birds but that got dropped today,” Buchanan said. “Only specifically for one of the animal sanctuaries in Calgary, so I’m allowed to go back there now.”

Buchanan said she’s concerned after finding out on Wednesday that the case is being assigned a special prosecutor with an agricultural background.

“I don’t know who it is yet. But they have a farm background. They’re used to defending farmers, not farm animals,” Buchanan said. “It just seems unfair.”

Premier Jason Kenney visited the Hutterite colony in October and announced the Alberta government would be cracking down on those who trespass on farmers’ property.

READ MORE: Alberta beefing up penalties for those who trespass on farmers’ property

The three accused adults will return to Fort Macleod court on Jan. 8, when it’s expected that Mah will have legal representation.