Wo­man who gave wa­ter to pigs not guilty

Judge clears ac­cused of mis­chief charge

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - PAOLA LORIGGIO

MIL­TON — 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 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.

Her other lawyer, Gary Grill, none­the­less ex­pressed some dis­ap­point­ment that the judge “missed the greater ar­gu­ments ... about Anita act­ing in the pub­lic good.”

“Should the mat­ter arise again, we’ll be ready to make that ar­gu­ment all over,” he said.

A spokesper­son for a group rep­re­sent­ing farmers said he rec­og­nized Kra­jnc was try­ing to do the right thing but said the rul­ing was a let­down.

Pat Jile­sen, direc­tor of the On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­ture, said that for farmers, it was a mat­ter of pro­tect­ing food safety.

Kra­jnc’s be­hav­iour, no mat­ter how wellinten­tioned, “puts not only the an­i­mals at risk, it puts peo­ple at risk,” he said.

The Crown had ar­gued that the pigs were the prop­erty of a farmer, and Kra­jnc was in­ter­fer­ing with his prop­erty.

In his de­ci­sion, Har­ris said the ac­tivist had not in­ter­fered with any­one’s prop­erty.

But he took is­sue with the de­fence equat­ing Kra­jnc giv­ing wa­ter to pigs with peo­ple giv­ing wa­ter to Jews trans­ported on cat­tle trains dur­ing the Holo­caust, call­ing the com­par­i­son “of­fen­sive.”

He also re­jected com­par­isons to his­toric rights ac­tivists such as Gandhi, Nel­son Man­dela and Su­san B. An­thony.

Har­ris said that while it is le­gal for ac­tivists such as Kra­jnc to tout a meat-free life­style and put pres­sure on gov­ern­ments to change the law, “they must how­ever do this within the con­fines of the law that cur­rently ex­ists.”

Kra­jnc had tes­ti­fied that she was treat­ing the pigs as she would want to be treated.

The pigs’ owner, farmer Eric Van Boekel, tes­ti­fied that he com­plained to po­lice be­cause he was wor­ried there were con­tam­i­nants in the wa­ter, and that could lead the slaugh­ter­house to turn his hogs away.

Anita Kra­jnc: Case bol­stered her cause

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