Media Releases

Appeal Victory: No Jail for Activists Who Exposed Cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm

VANCOUVER—National animal law advocacy organization Animal Justice is pleased with a decision today from the British Columbia Court of Appeal, which overturned jail sentences for two animal advocates who participated in a peaceful sit-in at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford, British Columbia—a factory farm repeatedly outed for severely abusing pigs.

Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer were convicted of criminal mischief and break and enter in 2022 following a trial, and sentenced to 30 days in jail—the only known jail sentence for a similar act of non-violent act of civil disobedience. In fact, their sentence for exposing animal cruelty was more severe than almost any recent sentence for a farm convicted of animal cruelty. An attempt by Ms. Soranno and Mr. Schafer to have their convictions overturned was denied earlier this year.

The Court of Appeal’s decision notes that their jail sentence was without precedent, and instead imposed a 120-day conditional sentence (i.e., house arrest) plus one year of probation.

Concerns over unlawful animal cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm date back to 2019, when secretly-recorded video first showed crowded pens full of thousands of pigs suffering from wounds and injuries, and dead pigs rotting in pens with and being eaten by live pigs. Additional hidden-camera footage showed the owners using electric prods on the sensitive faces of pigs, repeatedly hitting and kicking the animals, and cutting off the tails and testicles of screaming piglets with no pain relief.

Most recently, video footage released by Animal Justice in November 2023 showed dead and rotting pigs at the farm, pigs kicked in the face and jabbed with rods, pigs with bloody wounds, and feces and blood smeared throughout the farm. Authorities have not laid a single charge against Excelsior, despite mountains of evidence that the farm is engaged in unlawful animal abuse.

“Authorities and the justice system have relentlessly pursued Amy Soranno and Nick Schafer for shining light on the horrific suffering at Excelsior, while the farm has yet to be held legally accountable for severe cruelty, beatings, and pigs eating one another,” said lawyer Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice. “It’s a relief that these two whistleblowers will not face jail time, but where’s the justice for pigs? It’s deeply troubling that Excelsior Hog Farm has seemingly continued to evade justice or any meaningful consequences for its cruelty.”



Camille Labchuk
Executive Director
[email protected]