TORONTO – National animal law organization Animal Justice is sounding alarm bells about new Ontario legislation that will target animal advocates who seek to expose animal abuse and neglect in industrial farming. The Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act will be introduced this afternoon by provincial Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman, and promises unprecedented fines… Read more » Animal Justice
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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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OTTAWA—After years of research analysis, stakeholder and public consultation, and message testing, Health Canada has published an updated version of Canada’s Food Guide.
In a groundbreaking move, the familiar “meat and alternatives” and “dairy and alternatives” categories are gone. Instead, the food guide is organized around guidelines, emphasizing the intake of plant-based proteins and fats, and water as the beverage of choice.
Anna Pippus, a lawyer and plant-based food policy expert with Animal Justice, said:
“The new food guide offers a glimmer of hope that truth and integrity can prevail. For too many years, Canada’s food guide has compromised our health, environment, and animals by emphasizing meat, dairy, and eggs as being foundational in our diets. The new food guide turns that outdated thinking on its head, giving nutrient-dense and fibre-rich plant foods the prominence they deserve. Plant-based foods are associated with long and healthy lives, and they’re the foods Canadians should be eating more of. It so happens that these foods are also better for the planet and for animals.
“It’s also encouraging that Health Canada is recommending that the government use policy tools to help ensure good food choices are the easy food choices for Canadians. Plant-rich diets are a triple win for health, environment and animals, and they should be easily accessible to everyone, regardless of age, income, location, or ability.”
Though groundbreaking in their organization and emphasis, the new eating guidelines are not actually a major departure from the previous guide, which said to “have beans, lentils, and tofu often” and to “satisfy your thirst with water.” However, those important evidence-based recommendations were obscured by an undue emphasis on meat and dairy following decades of intense industry lobbying.
In the past, animal industries successfully applied intense pressure, resulting in increased recommended servings of meat and dairy products in previous versions of the food guide. During the latest revision process, to protect the integrity of the food guide, Health Canada announced that the food industry would not be permitted closed-door lobbying meetings, instead inviting food companies to participate in the regular public consultation process.
The meat and dairy industries attempted to get around this rule by lobbying other departments and individual politicians. A search of the federal lobbyist registry shows that dozens of meat and dairy industry representatives heavily lobbied MPs and other decision-makers in an attempt to influence the food guide in favour of the their industries. The federal Agriculture Committee staged hearings and issued a formal recommendation that the government align the food guide with agricultural business interests.
Animal Justice applauds Health Canada for safeguarding the integrity of the process and resisting industry attempts at influence.
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