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Criminal Charge Dropped Against Witness Who Filmed Fur Farm Cruelty

Animal Justice October 23, 2018

Prosecutors in Oshawa, Ontario have withdrawn a criminal break and enter charge against animal advocate Malcolm Klimowicz, who was charged earlier this year after filming severe neglect and cruelty on a mink farm. The charge had prompted massive rallies outside the Oshawa courthouse, significant public outcry, and even inspired the hashtag #MinkTrial.

Break and enter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Initially, prosecutors refused to withdraw the charge laid by police, even though legal experts considered the case against Mr. Klimowicz to be weak.

In 2017, Mr. Klimowicz walked on to multiple mink farms in Ontario and filmed the heartbreaking conditions that he found. He documented injured and dead minks confined in tiny, filthy wire cages, with piles of feces, puddles of urine, and crawling maggots. Minks were frequently overcrowded in the barren cages, and many suffered from open wounds and displayed repetitive behaviours that indicate severe psychological distress.

The shocking video footage was submitted to authorities, but the fur farms escaped prosecution, despite evidence of unimaginable cruelty in violation of federal and provincial laws. The only charges laid were against Mr. Klimowicz himself.

Although the Oshawa charge has now been withdrawn, Mr. Klimowicz still faces similar charges in Collingwood and Kingston.

Police and prosecutors frequently pursue animal advocates for exposing animal suffering while ignoring the crimes of the animal abusers, including Save Movement founder Anita Krajnc, acquitted of criminal mischief for giving water to thirsty pigs. The Krajnc trial made global headlines and exposed millions of people to meat industry cruelty. If the remaining charges against Mr. Klimowicz go to trial, the prosecution will undoubtedly have the same effect, increasing public awareness of horrific cruelty inherent in the Canadian fur industry.

Fur farming is largely unregulated in Canada, with few, if any, standards for the conditions under which animals must be kept. Fur farm cruelty runs rampant, as documented by Mr. Klimowicz as well as during another cross-country undercover investigation in 2014.

Mr. Klimowicz is accepting contributions toward his legal defence on his crowdfunding page, and supporters are invited to stay tuned for details on future court dates.

 

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Animal Justice

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Whistleblower Faces a Criminal Trial for Exposing Mink Farm Suffering

Animal Justice August 2, 2018

A whistleblower who exposed horrific suffering on multiple Ontario fur farms will face a criminal trial. Malcolm Klimowicz was charged with break and enter earlier this year for visiting a mink farm near Oshawa, Ontario and filming the disturbing conditions that he found there.

Prosecutors in Oshawa confirmed on Thursday that they will take the criminal charge of break and enter to trial and will not withdraw the case against him.

The undercover video footage gathered in 2017 by Mr. Klimowicz shows heartbreaking suffering on multiple Ontario fur farms. Injured and dead minks are seen confined in tiny wire cages in filthy conditions, with piles of feces, puddles of urine, and crawling maggots. Minks were frequently overcrowded in the barren cages, suffering from open wounds, and many of them displayed repetitive behaviours that indicate severe psychological distress.

The shocking video footage was submitted to authorities and investigated. Disappointingly, no charges were laid against any of the fur farms in question, despite evidence of unimaginable cruelty in violation of federal and provincial laws. The only charge laid to date is the break and enter charge against Mr. Klimowicz himself, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

 

Mink Trial

Courtesy of Malcolm Klimowicz 

This is not the first time the police and prosecutors have gone after an animal advocate for exposing animal suffering while ignoring the industries that abused animals in the first place. The hashtag #MinkTrial is already spreading on social media, reminiscent of Toronto activist Anita Krajnc’s notorious #PigTrial. Ms. Krajnc was acquitted of criminal mischief for giving water to thirsty pigs, but her trial made global headlines and exposed millions of people to cruelty in the farming industry. The #MinkTrial will undoubtedly increase public awareness of cruelty inherent in the Canadian fur industry.

Fur farming is largely unregulated in Canada, with few, if any, standards for the conditions under which animals must be kept. Fur farm cruelty runs rampant, as documented by Mr. Klimowicz as well as during another cross-country undercover investigation in 2014.

Mr. Klimowicz is accepting contributions toward his legal defence on his crowdfunding page, and supporters are invited to stay tuned for details on a rally outside the Oshawa courthouse on October 22, 2018.

 

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Animal Justice

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P.E.I. Ignores Calls to Restrict Fur Trapping, Extends Season Instead

Animal Justice, Cats, Dogs September 13, 2016

Prince Edward Island just bowed to the fur industry by giving hunters and trappers permission to kill even more animals this upcoming season. The move comes instead of heeding Animal Justice’s call to restrict fur trapping or even end the cruel practice altogether in the province.

Environment Minister Robert Mitchell announced in a news release that hunters would have an extra six weeks in total to kill snowshoe hares, and an extra month in the spring to trap minks. The news release indicates that the changes were made at the request of hunters and trappers.

Fur trapping is an incredibly violent practice. Canadian provinces allow trappers to use leg-hold traps, snares, and crush traps — cruel devices that often cause animals to suffer excruciating pain before they die.

Animal Justice met with Minister Mitchell last February to request a province-wide ban on fur trapping.

P.E.I.’s fur trapping industry has been under fire in recent years due to a rash of household companion animals being killed or injured in traps and snares. Companion animals in P.E.I. are at constant risk of dying in traps in part because provincial regulations allow traps to be set as near to residential homes as trappers wish, while snares can be set a mere 200 metres away. P.E.I. is the smallest and most densely-populated province in the country, meaning that pets aren’t safe so long as trapping is allowed.

Traps can also be set on Crown land, even though the provincial government encourages the public to hike on public land and bring their dogs along. Tragically, this leads to dogs dying in traps and snares, such as a dog named Caper who was killed last year in a baited snare set near a provincial trail.

The fur trade is on its way out, with pelt prices dropping drastically as many people refuse to wear fur. It is disappointing that the government has chosen to give special treatment to a dying industry, yet ignores Animal Justice and the countless P.E.I. residents who are asking the government to ban or restrict trapping. Expanding the killing season will allow many more animals to be brutally killed, and will further increase the risk that pets will become victims of traps.

Learn more about the cruelty of fur trapping here.

Animal Justice

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