On 12th January 2024, the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Canada upheld the convictions against Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer, the two vegan activists convicted of break and enter and mischief for their role in a peaceful sit-in in 2019 at Excelsior Hog Farm, a factory pig farm in Abbotsford, BC. The animal rights group Animal Justice which leads the legal fight for animals in Canada stated that this farm has been repeatedly exposed for animal cruelty and that they are disappointed with the court decision.
The appellants argued the trial judge blocked them from presenting a full defence by refusing to let the jury see footage of suffering pigs and refusing to let them argue that the farm had engaged in unlawful animal abuse, but the Court of Appeal disagreed. Soranno and Schafer now plan to appeal their sentence of 30 days in jail (the only known jail sentence in Canadian history for peaceful, non-violent civil disobedience).
Lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice, said, “Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer have faced unprecedented punishment simply for exposing the ugly truth about animal abuse on farms. Yet Excelsior Hog Farm has never been held accountable for dead and wounded pigs, pigs being hit and kicked, and pigs living in faeces-filled and blood-smeared cages. The Excelsior case exposes serious problems with the lack of oversight and accountability on farms in Canada. It is deeply troubling that our legal system gives abusive farms a get-out-of-jail-free card, and attempts to jail the compassionate citizens who shine a light on animal suffering.”
Although authorities have relentlessly pursued those responsible for exposing animal abuse at Excelsior, the farm itself has yet to face a single charge, despite multiple videos since 2019 depicting extreme animal suffering. In November 2023, Animal Justice released footage from Excelsior showing dead and rotting pigs, pigs kicked in the face and jabbed with rods, pigs with bloody wounds, and faeces and blood smeared throughout the farm.