Animal rights activist in Burlington charged under new protesting laws

Content Originally Published on:

September 11, 2020 at 1:38 pm

A protester at a Burlington slaughterhouse has been charged under Ontario’s new trespass and security laws.

A protester at a Burlington slaughterhouse has been charged under Ontario’s new trespass and security laws.

Animal rights activist Diane Smele vows to fight the charges, which were laid Monday when she and about 20 others protested outside of Fearman’s Pork on Appleby Line.

Halton Regional Police said it’s the first time it has laid a charge under Bill 156, called the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, which became law in June, but a few of the regulations only came into force on Sept. 2.

Smele said she was legally walking across an intersection on a green light and not getting in the way of a truck full of pigs entering the meat processing plant.

“Bill 156 is infringing on our rights to peacefully bear witness,” Smele said.

For years, small numbers of activists have protested outside the plant, where they’d usually stand in front of trucks just before it enters the property while others gave water to pigs inside the trucks. 

Smele, who was there Monday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., said she and a few other activists with the group New Wave Activism walked through an intersection when the light turned green as a transport truck waited to turn into the plant.

She said she turned around partway through the intersection and that’s when a nearby police officer brought her to his patrol car to issue her the provincial offence notice that carries with it a $490 fine.

The activists did not stop the trucks and did not give water to pigs, she said.

“Charged for walking through the crosswalk, I think that’s ridiculous,” Smele said.

Two days after the bill became law in June, Regan Russell, 65, died after being struck by a truck carrying pigs into the same slaughterhouse.

Police charged the truck driver with careless driving causing death, a provincial traffic offence that if proven in court could result in anything from a fine to two years in jail.

– With files from Canadian Press

 A truck carrying pigs readies to turn into Fearman’s Pork on Appleby Line

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