Today, sections of the controversial Bill 156 come into force, making it an offence to stop or interfere with trucks carrying farmed animals to slaughterhouses.
Bill 156, the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, is a troubling new “ag gag” law aimed at concealing cruelty in animal agriculture. It will restrict the ability of employee whistleblowers to publicly expose hidden animal suffering, as well as unsafe working conditions and public health risks, at farms and slaughterhouses. It is also designed to restrict the rights of individuals to protest on public property near trucks transporting animals to slaughter.
The Bill passed on June 17, 2020, despite warnings from Animal Justice lawyers and dozens of legal experts from across the country that this legislation is unconstitutional and violates animal advocates’ Charter-protected rights to free expression and peaceful assembly.
As of Wednesday, September 2, 2020 it will now be an offense to “stop, obstruct, hinder or otherwise interfere with a motor vehicle transporting farm animals”—hindering the important work of groups like the Animal Save Movement, that regularly document and expose illegal suffering of farmed animals in transport trucks.
For instance, just two weeks ago, Animal Justice raised the alarm over footage from an animal advocate taken outside of a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ontario. The heartbreaking footage shows frightened pigs in sweltering heat, crowded together with the body of a pig who had already tragically died.
Under the new law, advocates who interfere with transport trucks can now face fines up to $15,000 for a first offence and up to $25,000 for any subsequent offence.
The remaining sections of Bill 156 will come into force once Ontario establishes regulations under the new law. Our lawyers are busy reviewing the government’s draft regulations. Stay tuned to learn how you can speak out for animals and those who advocate on their behalf by telling Ontario to ditch its dangerous plan to keep the public in the dark about animal cruelty.
Banner: Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals Media