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Animal rights activists protest Bill 156 at Guelph's Cargill plant (6 photos)

The province says the proposed bill is to protect animals, but some animal rights activists think the bill is to silence them

“Get a life!” screamed the driver of a transport truck as he was forced to stop for 10 animal rights activists who quietly stood on the road in front of him for two  minutes. 

The Guelph Cow Save and KW Animal Save activists then proceeded towards the truck to make eye contact with the cows and record their transport conditions on their way to Cargill Meat Solutions. 

Monday's event was a protest of the proposed Bill-156, a bill tabled in the legislature last week that would call for stiff fines of up to $25,000 for anyone convicted of trespassing on a farm or slaughterhouse with animals.

“We think the public needs to know,” said activist Mo Markham. “They’re selling it as protecting the public when what it really is about is protecting the industry and hiding what the industry is doing.”

The Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs indicated that the proposed Bill 156 is intended to protect farm animals, the food supply, farmers and others from risks created when trespassers enter places where farm animals are kept. If found guilty, trespassers risk a fine of $15,00 for the first offence and $25,000 for subsequent offences. 

Markham said she believes the bill is a clear attack on animal rights activists because it stops them from exposing the truth and showing the public what is actually happening behind closed doors. 

“There’s so much around the industry that is harmful for people,” she said of the three slaughterhouses permanently shut down in Toronto recently because they allegedly gave false information concerning to an E. coli outbreak. 

“When the activists go into the farm, they wear complete suits and biohazards. There’s never been a case where they’ve shown that activists have caused a biohazard.”

Activist John Sakars said he came from London to participate in the protest to fight for animal rights. 

“It’s very cold at this time of the year, and the smell is horrible, and they have a strong sense of smell and imagine once they enter the slaughterhouse, they can smell the stench of death. It’s got to be horrifying for them,” said Sakars. 

Activist Jen Deighan-Schenk said that if the bill passes, it will not stop them from continuing to fight for animals’ rights. 

“I think if anything, it puts a fire under our butts even more because we know that the bill is to protect the industry, it isn’t to protect animals, and is against animal rights activists,” said Deighan-Schenk.

She said that the activists have no hate for the truck drivers.

“We’re just trying to send love to the animals, but we’re also trying to expose the truth without trespassing. We’re trying to remind people that there is a face behind that steak or that burger,” said Deighan-Schenk.


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Anam Khan

About the Author: Anam Khan

Anam Khan is a journalist who covers numerous beats in Guelph and Wellington County that include politics, crime, features, environment and social justice
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