Media Releases

Animal Justice Stands with B.C. Advocates in Appeal Against Unjust Jail Sentences for Exposing Animal Cruelty

VANCOUVER—National animal law advocacy organization Animal Justice is expressing support for Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer, who are appealing their 30-day jail sentences on Friday, May 31 at the BC Court of Appeal. 

Their sentences stem from their participation in a peaceful sit-in at Excelsior Hog Farm in 2019, a factory farm in Abbotsford, BC that has been repeatedly outed for animal suffering. These are the only known jail sentences in Canadian history for a non-violent act of civil disobedience. In fact, Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer’s sentence for exposing animal cruelty was more severe than almost any recent sentence for a farm convicted of animal cruelty.

In the appeal, Ms. Soranno is challenging the trial judge’s refusal to let her make a statement in court during the sentencing stage, despite the fact the Supreme Court of Canada has previously ruled that the motives behind someone’s actions should be considered during sentencing. During the trial, the advocates were also prohibited from showing the jury any video evidence of animal cruelty at Excelsior. 

While Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer may be jailed for exposing animal cruelty, Excelsior Hog Farm has yet to face any charges for the overt abuse documented in secretly-recorded video footage released by Animal Justice in November of last year.

In 2019, similar secretly-recorded video prompted the non-violent sit-in at Excelsior Hog Farm, which ultimately led to Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer’s charges and subsequent sentences. The footage showed mother pigs trapped in tiny crates with dead and dying piglets; pigs prodded in the face with electric current; pigs with untreated injuries; and workers castrating piglets without apparent pain relief. Many of the same horrors were still visible in the video gathered four years later.

“Jailing compassionate citizens who expose animal cruelty during an act of peaceful civil disobedience is not only unjust, but would set an alarming precedent,” said Camille Labchuk, lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice. “Factory farms that abuse animals regularly walk away with a fine or probation, even in the most horrific of cases.”

“Amy and Nick have shown immense courage in standing up for the animals suffering at Excelsior Hog Farm, and we are proud to support their appeal against these harsh sentences. Meanwhile the Excelsior Hog Farm has seemingly continued to evade justice or any meaningful consequences for its cruelty “

An attempt  by Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer to have their convictions overturned was denied earlier this year.


Josh Lynn
Public Relations Manager
[email protected]

Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
[email protected]