Trial of activist that gave water to pigs bound for processing plant continued Wednesday

The trial of Toronto animal rights activist Anita Krajnc, who is charged with mischief for providing water to pigs through the openings of a trailer bound for a Burlington processing plant on a hot day last June, continued at a Burlington court on Wednesday. Krajnc, 49, who is a member of the activist group “Toronto Pig Save,” faces jail time or a maximum $5,000 fine.

According to CBC reporter Samantha Craggs, who was live tweeting the proceedings, the court was filled with animal rights activists Wednesday, while others stood outside holding signs in support of Krajnc.

Krajnc’s lawyers showed a video depicting a confrontation that took place on June 22, 2015 between the defendant and truck driver Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf in which Krajnc quotes a Bible verse about giving water to the thirsty, to which the driver replies “These are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad.”

The day after the confrontation, Eric Van Boekel, owner of the pigs that were being transported from Otterville to Burlington’s Fearman’s Pork Inc., contacted police. After an investigation, Krajnc was charged with mischief.

In her coverage of Wednesday’s events, Craggs makes note that some of the animal rights activists in attendance were “tearful” following footage of the pigs in the truck. When Veldjesgraaf tells one of Krajnc’s attorneys that he regularly hauls pigs aged between four and six months, there were audible “gasps” in the courtroom from the assembled activists.

In his testimony, Veldjesgraaf said that the 110 km trip took him about an hour and a half and that, while the pigs were not given any water by him during the trip, they were provided water “as soon as they reached Fearman’s.” The maximum allowable time for pigs to be in transit without access to food or water is 36 hours. In the United States, only 28 hours are permitted, while in Europe pigs can be transported for as long as 24 hours, provided they have access to water at all times.

When asked if the pigs he was hauling were in distress on June 22, 2015, Veldjesgraaf said, “no.”

The second of the Crown’s witnesses was Van Boekel. The pig farmer said he was concerned that his load of pigs – worth roughly $45,000 – would be rejected because of “contaminants” for which he hadn’t been responsible. He also said he was worried that some day, one of the protestors who regularly gather on a traffic island at an intersection frequented by livestock trailers would get an arm stuck in the trailer, not be seen by the driver, and dragged.

Though the trial had been scheduled to wrap up on this past Thursday, additional dates in October and November were added, as Krajnc is still expected to testify, and her attorneys Gary Grill and James Silver plan to call on experts in ecology, agriculture, nutrition and metabolism, animal welfare and animal behaviour.

In a November story by Craggs, she quotes Krajnc as saying that, if she is fined, she will refuse to pay.

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