Animal advocate Malcolm Klimowicz has been acquitted of the criminal offence of break and enter for entering a fur farm without permission, and filming suffering minks trapped inside tiny wire cages. The acquittal comes after a multi-day trial held online, via a courthouse in Kingston, Ontario. Watched online by people across the country, the hashtag #MinkTrial was popularized by the trial.
Mr. Klimowicz was deeply concerned about the well-being of minks confined on Canadian fur farms. He entered a fur farm owned by Walt Freeman in Frontenac Township in August, 2017, and filmed video footage of minks confined inside the sheds. He later turned the footage over to Ontario animal welfare authorities and asked for an investigation into the troubling conditions depicted in the video—which included cages filled with feces, sludge, and urine. Mr. Klimowicz also shared the video on YouTube and with news media, in an effort to inform the public about the troubling conditions that are standard on fur farms where minks live and are slaughtered for their fur.
The offence of break and enter requires proof that a person entered onto property without permission, and intended to commit an offence while there, or did in fact commit an offence. In this case, the prosecutor alleged that Mr. Klimowicz committed the criminal offence of mischief while on the property, by invading the fur farm owner’s privacy, recording minks without his permission, and potentially breaching fur farm “biosecurity” and disturbing minks.
In her ruling, the judge rejected the idea that videotaping caged minks is the offence of mischief, and thus acquitted Mr. Klimowicz of break and enter. The judge also found that he had caused no harm to animals, nor had he created any biosecurity concerns.
Canada’s mink fur farming industry has long been under fire for the unacceptable conditions and appalling animal suffering that are standard on fur farms. With at least two Canadian mink fur farms also facing worrying COVID-19 outbreaks, and concerns over mutations, many people are calling for the permanent closure of fur farms across the country. Take action today to demand an end to cruel and dangerous fur farming in Canada!
Join the Animal Justice mailing list