Animal Advocates Appeal Criminal Conviction for Exposing Pig Farm Abuse

Today, animal advocates Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer are at the British Columbia Court of Appeal to overturn a conviction that saw them sentenced to jail, all for bringing cruelty to light at a pig factory farm in Abbotsford.

Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer were prosecuted in 2019 and convicted for participating in a peaceful sit-in at Excelsior Hog Farm in 2019. Not long before, secretly-recorded footage from Excelsior Hog Farm had been released, showed mother pigs trapped in gestation crates with dead and dying piglets, pigs prodded in the face with electric current, untreated injuries, and workers castrating piglets without painkillers. The whistleblower who gathered the footage handed it to authorities, who in turn, reported him to the police.

In response to this horror, concerned members of the public staged the “Meat the Victims” sit-in protest at the farm, where they live-streamed conditions showing severely neglected pigs who were crippled, injured, and seen frothing at the mouth.

Shockingly, the farm never faced legal consequences, despite video evidence of illegal animal cruelty. Instead, authorities chose to prosecute the people who spoke up for the pigs, and Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer were ultimately convicted of criminal break and enter, and mischief, and sentenced to 30 days in jail.

This appears to be the only jail sentence in Canadian history for a non-violent act of civil disobedience.

Farms are seldom prosecuted for illegal cruelty, even in the most egregious cases. But even when they are prosecuted, farmers almost never face jail time, even for acts like ripping the wings off of live birds, sexually abusing animals, or beating animals to death with shovels—which has all been exposed in previous farm investigations in Canada.

New Exposé Shows Abuse Prevails at Excelsior

Last week, Animal Justice released shocking new hidden-camera footage from Excelsior, showing dead and rotting pigs, crushed and stillborn piglets inside tiny crates with their mothers, hernias and open wounds, and pigs being kicked in the face and jabbed with metal rods by workers. This heartbreaking suffering is some of the worst ever captured on camera at a Canadian farm.

Four years after the farm was first outed for cruelty, nothing has changed. The farm continues to harm pigs with impunity while escaping charges and accountability. Animal Justice has filed legal complaints with authorities, and our legal team is doing everything we can to seek justice for the pigs at Excelsior—including calling for mandatory cameras at farms and slaughterhouses in BC.

Make Twice the Impact for Pigs this Giving Tuesday

From now until November 28 at midnight, all donations are being DOUBLED by a generous donor to support Animal Justice’s mission for animal protection.

By supporting Animal Justice today, your gift will help us take more cases to trial and force the courts to face the animal abuse that runs rampant. It will help us fight dangerous ag gag laws that cover up cruelty, and call out existing laws that are perpetually broken. Your gift will give animals the legal representation they so desperately need and deserve.

Generations of innocent pigs have suffered needlessly at Excelsior Hog Farm. The footage is painfully tragic, but together, we have the power to make change for them. Give today to have it MATCHED before it’s too late—you can help make sure the legal system cannot continue to ignore the innocent animals suffering in factory farms.