Anita Krajnc was arrested last year after she provided water to pigs en route to the slaughter. Her lawyers hope to demonstrate farm animals’ living conditions
Lawyers for a Canadian animal rights activist set to go on trial for giving water to pigs on a hot day plan to bring virtual reality headsets into the courtroom to expose the conditions faced by farm animals heading to the slaughter.
Toronto resident Anita Krajnc, 49, was arrested on 22 June 2015 after clashing with the driver of a tractor-trailer carrying pigs to an Ontario pork processing plant.
Krajnc and a fellow protester tried to give the pigs water as the vehicle was stopped at a traffic light on the way to the Fearmans Pork processing facility, about 45 miles south-west of Toronto. Ontario hog farmer Eric Van Boekel, who owned the pigs, filed a police complaint the next day.
Van Boekel told the Guardian last year that he was concerned for both the safety of his product and that of the animal rights protesters, who sometimes crowd near the large transport vehicles when they are stopped in traffic.
James Silver, Krajnc’s lawyer, said they would argue in court this week that she not only caused no harm in giving one pig water, but was attempting to do the opposite.
“The tack that we’ve taken recognizes that Anita hasn’t done anything wrong,” he said. “Environmentally, that what she’s doing involves taking the moral high ground. Nutritionally, it’s the moral high ground. Cognitively, it’s the moral high ground.”
Krajnc’s legal team plan to bring virtual reality headsets to screen footage from inside a factory farm and slaughterhouse, and have lined up a series of expert witnesses to argue the health and environmental merits of veganism.
Krajnc said she felt vindicated by messages of support from around the world she had received since her arrest last year.
“From my perspective, pigs are no different from children or dogs,” she said. “Pigs are in no way, shape or form property.”
Toronto Pig Save, the movement Krajnc helped found, has inspired similar movements throughout the world, including 10 in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Toronto Pig Save holds weekly vigils outside slaughterhouses and, in the summer, offers water and watermelon to thirsty and dehydrated pigs on their way to pork processing facilities.
“Toronto is like the Bethlehem or Mecca for save groups,” said Chris Foott, with Manchester Pig Save in the United Kingdom, in an email. His group was founded late last year when fellow animal rights activists saw a video of Krajnc’s altercation online.
“They are the original group and the greatest inspiration to the rest of the save groups throughout the world,” he said.
Krajnc’s case will be heard in the Ontario Court of Justice in Burlington, about 35 miles south-west of Toronto, on 24 and 25 August, with another court date scheduled for some time in November or December.