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Contact and meet MPPs to stop Ontario Ag-Gag Bill 156
December 3, 2019 @ 11:00 pm - December 12, 2019 @ 11:00 pm
Please contact and meet with your Member of Provincial Parliament to oppose the proposed Ag-Gag Bill 156 (Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act)
Find your Ontario MPP here: https://www.ola.org/en/members/current
The Conservative government’s proposed Bill 156 (Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act) is a dangerous piece of legislation that would hide animal abuse and prevent animal activists from performing their vital role in exposing the horrific treatment of farmed animals. Trespassing laws already exist in Ontario, therefore we have to ask what else does the government, farmers and animal ag workers have to hide that has precipitated this Bill.
Certain provisions of ag-gag Bill 156 specifically target animal rights groups like Toronto Pig Save and a dozen other Save groups in Ontario that are part of the global Animal Save Movement. These law abiding activists peacefully bear witness to farmed animals outside slaughterhouses, provide water to animals, and document their suffering.
It would also require explicit prior consent to access an “animal protection zone” on a farm or “food processing” slaughterhouse facility. According to Animal Justice lawyer Camille Labchuk, the other things the bill does that should be concerning for activists include extending the time in which charges can be laid from 6 months to two years; allowing for civil actions to recover damages against activists; allowing farmers to recover full costs against activists in the case of private prosecutions against activists. Bill also lets the government designate other areas as “animal protection zones” which it will likely use in the future to designate labs, zoos etc.
There is absolutely no evidence of farmers, workers, or animals being harmed by activists, or of any violations or threats to food security.
Bearing witness at locations where animals are exploited, abused, and slaughtered is a Canadian right of freedom of expression. Activists have a right to interact with animals such as pigs, cows, and others on public property.
Bill 156 is one-sided and does not reflect the concern the majority of Ontarians have for farmed animals. This proposed bill must be stopped, and instead the government should be increasing the ability of activists to expose exploitation and suffering of farmed animals.
The benefit of animal vigils are:
Bearing witness at animal vigils helps participants and the public see firsthand the individuality of the animals and has helped thousands of people shift to a plant based diet, as well as do their civic duty and get active in animal justice movements
Animal vigils at slaughterhouses create mass awareness through viral social media.
Our vigils at Fearmans slaughterhouse have exposed pigs literally dying of thirst, heat stroke and heart attacks during extreme heat waves. This Toronto Pig Save video has 19 million views, demonstrating the intense public interest.
At Toronto Cow Save vigils we have shared the painful injuries of cows arriving at slaughterhouses. In this video a cow arrives at the slaughterhouse after ripping his horn off during transport. Blood is streaming down his face. This video was reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) who responded that there was no evidence of a bloody cow arriving.
The government and law enforcement agencies should be aiding animal rights groups to reach safety agreements to bear witness peacefully – not taking away their rights and duties.
The proposed Bill 156 is likely to increase the risks of dangerous driving by, according to the government’s news release, “increasing protection for farmers against civil liability from people who were hurt while trespassing or contravening the act.” We fear this provision would enable and embolden transport truck drivers to drive aggressively, and endanger the lives of peaceful, law abiding activists.There have already been numerous incidents of a significant minority of truck drivers putting activists’ lives in danger. (See videos 1 and 2.)
Toronto Pig Save has successfully obtained safety agreements with Maple Leaf Poultry and St. Helen’s in Toronto but not Fearmans (owned by Sofina) in Burlington, despite numerous attempts. See our letter and safety report re: Fearmans slaughterhouse. This legislation is dangerous and unjust. It will significantly increase the risk of death to activists. It must be stopped.
In addition, the legislation could in effect shut down undercover exposés into conditions on industrial farms and slaughterhouses, in cases where activists seek employment without disclosing an intention to “blow the whistle” on cruel and illegal conditions.
The Ontario government similar to the Alberta Government is attempting to fast track Bill 156 right before Christmas, a time when many people may not be as engaged in the news. Ontarians have a right to know that animal rights activists rights are being infringed – and that this could happen to any other social justice movement in Ontario, at any time.
Note: Please check the Facebook event page for updates.