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UPDATE: 11 Activists Who Exposed Canadian Pig Farm Horrors Are Sentenced

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UPDATE: 11 Activists Who Exposed Canadian Pig Farm Horrors Are Sentenced

Pig at Porgreg farm in Canada

11 activists, 10 Canadian women and one US non-binary person, convicted for entering a pig farm in Quebec to expose the animal cruelty there, were just sentenced

Two of the 11 Canadian activists and a defense lawyer interviewed by jane-Velez-Mitchell
Two of the 11  activists and a defense lawyer interviewed by jane-Velez-Mitchell

Updated: Los Angeles, June 23rd, 2023 — Three years after a group of eleven activists entered a pig breeding facility in Quebec, Canada, and live-streamed the horrific conditions, they finally received their sentences. The 11 were arrested, prosecuted, and found guilty of obstruction and breaking and entering.  While none got jail time, several of them now have criminal records and must do community service.  One of those who is now burdened with a criminal record is famed Canadian activist Jenny McQueen.

The 11 activists were convicted, even though the authorities investigated the farm after the arrests and confirmed several of the claims about poor animal welfare conditions,  They were convicted even though the judge in the case called the images they recorded “disturbing.”

Blaming the Messenger

Critics say this case highlights the failure of a legal system that convicts whistleblowers who expose wrongdoing while failing to prosecute those who engage in wrongdoing.

Two of the defendants, Jenny McQueen and Natalie Bartosek, together with one of the defense attorneys, Chloé Surprenant, spoke to UnchainedTV’s Jane Velez-Mitchell about their ordeal. This interview was recorded prior to their sentences being handed down, as they were waiting, their lives in limbo. In the end, Natalie Bartosek did not get a criminal record. You can watch the entire conversation here, which includes clips of the videos taken at the farm:

What Did the 11 Activists Do?

Filthy facilities at Porgreg farm (c) DxE
Filthy facilities at Porgreg farm (c) DxE

The events at the farm happened on December 7th, 2019, when the activists, who are members of Direct Action Everywhere and other groups, entered a barn around 4 a.m. McQueen explains what they did:

“We didn’t break anything. We entered inside and we toured the entire place. We took a video, and a few of us live-streamed while we were there… we were horrified over what we saw inside. The police arrested us in the area where the gestation crates were. We had not been able to sit on the ground and occupy one of the areas absolutely caked in feces…a section where babies were being fattened in boxes..the boxes were covered in feces, and were smeared. And then, what we witnessed: decaying electrics, maggots, rodents.”

Bartosek explained what happened next:

“The reason we did not leave the moment that they asked us to is that we had one demand, and that was for media to come in and film the premises…as soon as our demand was denied, we were ready to go. But, they took a very long time organizing themselves to arrest us and, unfortunately, they have now sort of skewed that fact and said that we were obstructing justice by refusing to leave.”

On April 14th, 2023, Justice Marco LaBrie announced his verdict for the activists: guilty of breaking and entering and obstruction.

“For me, it’s about the animals. For me, it’s about suffering. Why are we doing this to them if we know that we don’t need to eat animals to survive, which we’ve known for a while?” — Natalie Bartosek, Vegan Activist

Victimizing Whistleblowers

Jenny McQueen facing arrest
Jenny McQueen facing arrest (c) DxE

Canada’s vegan/animal rights community points to this as a clear case of victimizing whistleblowers, given that the wrongdoing the 11 activists exposed was later confirmed. The authorities did investigate the farm days after the arrests. McQueen explains:

“After we had been arrested, in the days later, we then reported what we’d seen to the authorities; to the fire marshal, to the electrical safety authority, and to the government, to the ‘animal protection’ government ministry. Following that, the government made an extremely rare visit, and they actually confirmed everything we’d seen. And, they issued a fail report to this facility.”

See Also
Woman Biting Raw Red Beef Steak Meat

It is believed that those who were running the farm in 2019 are no longer in charge. But, it is not clear what is happening with the facility now. We invite anybody involved in the case, the former owner of the farm, or the Quebec Pork Breeders Association to comment on this story.

“I could never regret any peaceful action that was taken for animals, and I said that straight to the judge when I testified at the sentencing hearing.” — Natalie Bartosek, Vegan Activist

Defense attorney Chloé Surprenant says there’s a systemic failure in the province that is allowing those who expose animal cruelty to be punished, instead of those who perpetrated such cruelty:

Charging people for breaking and entry is a thing, but charging farmers for cruelty is another thing. And here, in Quebec, we don’t have good animal protection laws. That’s a big problem for me. We need to have more protection and not only voluntary codes of practices.”

Ironically, in 2015, Quebec passed legislation defining animals as sentient beings. But, that law does not stop animals from being raised for food. Activists are now calling for a new law, the Rose’s Law Animal Bill of Rights, which includes the right to be free, the right to not be exploited, and the right to be rescued.

“Rose’s Law is extremely friendly, it’s extremely logical, and we have taken actions for Rose’s Law all around the country.” — Jenny McQueen, vegan activist


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