A highly-anticipated legal battle aiming to strike down an agricultural gag law (aka “ag gag law“) in Ontario is around the corner.
From October 30 to November 1, Animal Justice lawyers will be in court fighting to overturn an ag gag law that makes it illegal to go undercover to investigate animal abuse at farms and slaughterhouses.
In 2020, Ontario passed Bill 156, a law that prevents animal advocates and journalists from blowing the whistle on cruelty in farms and slaughterhouses. The law also limits peaceful protests near slaughterhouses where advocates gather outside to bear witness to animals inside trucks who are on their way to be killed.
Ag gag laws are being promoted by the meat, dairy, and egg lobbies in response to numerous shocking and powerful hidden-camera exposés that pull back the curtain on the abuse that animals routinely suffer behind closed doors. Secretly-recorded video footage shows that cows, pigs, turkeys, and chickens often endure lives of pure misery in cramped and filthy factory farms and often suffer in botched killings at slaughterhouses. But instead of stopping the cruelty, the meat industry wants to stop the videos. The industry knows that if consumers keep getting exposed to the truth via abuse videos on the nightly news, the widespread abuse could lead people to reject animal products.
Not only does Ontario’s ag gag law conceal the truth, we believe it’s unconstitutional. It violates our Charter-protected right to free expression by covering up information about how food is produced and punishing people who seek to share the truth.
Similar laws have been ruled unconstitutional in six US states, and this groundbreaking case is the first time a Canadian ag gag law is being challenged in court.
Animal Justice joins two applicants in the case whose work on behalf of animals is jeopardized by Ontario’s ag gag laws: freelance journalist Jessica Scott-Reid, and animal advocate Louise Jorgensen with Toronto Cow Save.
For over a decade, Ms. Scott-Reid has written about animal rights and welfare, climate change, and plant-based foods. Ms. Jorgensen is a talented photographer who has been photographing and bearing witness to the hidden victims of our food system for many years.
Watch Online or Join the Rally in Toronto!
The legal case starts on Monday, October 30, and there will be a rally in front of the Toronto courthouse to show support for the legal challenge. Anyone is welcome to attend court, and the proceedings will also be live-streamed here, passcode: 904565.
When: October 30, 2023. The court hearing starts at 10 am, and the rally begins at 12:30 pm.
Where: Superior Court of Justice, 330 University Avenue, Toronto, in courtroom 5-1.
Banner: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media