PSHS NewsWatch: Statement on farm property incursions
How significant of a risk are farm property incursions to both farm animals and farm families?
This is a question making news recently, as referenced in the following excerpt from a media statement issued by Farm & Food Care:
Ontario farm groups strongly disagree with yesterday’s decision to drop charges against a well-known animal rights activist.
“Yesterday’s court decision negatively impacts all of Ontario agriculture,” said Keith Currie, President of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture speaking on behalf of numerous farm organizations including Ontario Pork, Farm & Food Care Ontario, Turkey Farmers of Ontario, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Chicken Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Fur Breeders’ Association, Veal Farmers of Ontario and Ontario Sheep Farmers.
“Our system of law and order is based on consequences for breaking the law. Without meaningful prosecutions that act as a deterrent to future crimes, activists become bolder in their actions. They’re also fundraising through their illegal activities, thus profiting from breaking the law.”
In 2016 and 2017, the activist is alleged to have entered a hog barn near Lucan, Ont., on multiple occasions, without the knowledge of the property owners. In 2018, she admitted in a media interview to recording video inside the barn on these occasions, and submitting it to various authorities for investigation. She also acknowledged taking two animals from the barn. She had been facing charges of break and enter, and mischief to property worth more than $5,000.
For many farm families in Canada, home and work are uniquely connected. Recent incursions by animal activists onto farms and into buildings clearly defined as private property violate the Trespass to Property Act, RSO 1990. These actions put the security of all involved at risk, including farmers and their families.
“For farmers and their families, having their homes and businesses invaded is deeply troubling – whether by large groups of protestors or stealth incursions at night,” said Eric Schwindt, chair of Ontario Pork. “It’s important to note that recent activist attempts to discredit farmers have resulted in no charges against the farms they targeted. For farmers, police and regulators, these incidents tie up vital resources that could be put to better use elsewhere.”