Woman who gave water to pigs headed to slaughter found not guilty of mischief
A Toronto woman who gave water to pigs on a truck headed to an abattoir didn’t break the law since she didn’t harm the animals or prevent them from being slaughtered, an Ontario judge ruled Thursday as he found the activist not guilty of a mischief charge.
Anita Krajnc also did not intend to hurt the pigs or mean to cause the slaughterhouse to reject them, Justice David Harris told a Milton, Ont., courtroom packed with animal activists.
Court heard that on June 22, 2015, Krajnc was dumping liquid from a water bottle into a truck carrying pigs in Burlington, Ont., as the vehicle approached a slaughterhouse.
Despite the Crown’s argument that Krajnc gave the pigs an “unknown substance,’’ potentially contaminating the food supply, there was no evidence she gave them anything but water or that the slaughterhouse was concerned about such a risk, Harris said.
But the judge rejected a defence argument that Krajnc should be cleared because she was acting in the greater good, and suggested she may have been motivated in part by the prospect of drawing attention to her cause.
“This may be the most ironic aspect of this case,’’ Harris said. “The fact that Ms. Krajnc gave water to a pig received little attention initially.’’
“Conversely, the act of prosecuting Ms. Krajnc has probably led to enough bad publicity for the pork industry that it might be said that the prosecution actually accomplished what they accused Ms. Krajnc of trying to do.’’
Cheers erupted in the courtroom as Krajnc, an activist with the group Toronto Pig Save, was acquitted on the charge of mischief laid in connection with the incident. She had pleaded not guilty, although she admitted to giving the pigs water.
Outside court, Krajnc acknowledged that the case has bolstered her cause and said she hoped it would encourage others to stand up for animal rights.
“This is how social movements get their word out, we go outside our comfort zone and we do what’s right,’’ she said.
James Silver, one of Krajnc’s lawyers, said the court ruling “acknowledges that compassion is not a crime,’’ which he deemed an important victory.