Prosecutors in London, Ontario withdrew all charges today against animal rights advocate Jenny McQueen. McQueen was facing charges of break and enter and mischief after entering a pig breeding facility in Lucan, Ontario that impregnates mother pigs so their piglets can be fattened up and sent to slaughter. Around 2,600 pigs are confined at the industrial-style breeding facility.
McQueen witnessed hell on earth inside the pig warehouse. She recorded footage of mother pigs confined in gestation crates, forced to produce litter after litter of piglets. Many of the mother pigs suffered from prolapse, with their organs protruding from their bodies. McQueen removed one baby piglet from the facility, who is now safe and healthy.
Prosecutors stated they were withdrawing the charges because there was no reasonable prospect of convicting McQueen. In other words, they felt they could not prove the case against her.
The charges against McQueen had been dubbed the “Pig Trial 2”, reminiscent of the trial of Anita Krajnc, who was acquitted of criminal mischief in 2017 for giving water to thirsty pigs on their way to slaughter. The acquittal came after a high-profile trial that garnered global media coverage and exposed the suffering of pigs in the farming system.
On the steps of the courthouse, McQueen called the day “an absolute win for animal rights activism”, but noted that she was disappointed her case would not get to trial because “so many people needed to hear what is happening” inside industrial farms. She promised to continue to raise awareness because animal agriculture is concealing the truth from consumers, “lying to the general public with terms like ‘humane’ and ‘well-cared for’.”
McQueen’s lawyer Gary Grill noted that charging animal advocates is a huge waste of court resources, but also a tremendous opportunity to expose the cruel reality of modern farming. Grill stated that he was unaware of whether the animal farming industry had pushed for the charges against McQueen to be laid, or had asked for them to be withdrawn, but that criminal trials are damaging to the farming industry because disturbing footage of cruelty is inevitably played in court.
Grill stated that as animal advocacy continues to intensify, he anticipates intense, well-funded lobbying on behalf of the meat and fur industries, who want to turn activism into a serious terrorism offence and introduce ag gag-style restrictions on filming conditions on farms.
This lobbying may already be underway. Last month, Animal Justice reported that a fur industry representative asked the House of Commons Agriculture Committee to enact US-style terrorism laws to lock up activists who expose cruelty on fur farms.
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