Eleven animal rights activists of the group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) were found guilty on 14th April 2022 of obstruction and breaking-and-entering after they occupied a Porgreg pig breeding facility in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, in 2019. Their trial started in October at the Saint-Hyacinthe courthouse, about 60 kilometres east of Montreal. They all were found guilty of the two charges and they are waiting for their sentence to be handed to them in a hearing scheduled for 6th May.
Anne Shaughnessy, one of the activists who were convicted, wrote in a statement to CTV News that the group was “fully prepared to be arrested if our demands were not met. But we are far from criminals!… It’s important that the media begin to cover what really happens on Canadian farms. We can help animals by convincing one person at a time to leave animals off their plates, but this won’t change things for animals fast enough.”
Among the convicted is the veteran activist Jenny McQueen, who had faced arrest on other occasions when she perform “open rescues” on other farms. In 2019 she had all the charges against her dropped regarding an open rescue of a piglet at the Adare Pork breeding facility north of Lucan, in March 2018.
DxE would like Quebec to enact Rose’s Law Animal Bill of Rights which includes a right to rescue, and the right to protection of animals among other policies. Wayne Hsiung, the DxE co-founder, said in an email after another unrelated Open Rescue case had been dropped “The government realized that the public believes in the Right to Rescue. Together we can ensure that other activists who have put their freedom on the line for animals win their cases as well. Governments across the world are realizing that prosecuting people for acts of compassion doesn’t make sense, and what does make sense is allowing good people to rescue animals from misery while holding their abusers accountable.”. Hsiung was convicted in 2022 for rescuing a goat in North Carolina and he is facing another trial in Utah.