Four activists face charges linked to 2019 Abbotsford hog-farm protest

Mischief and break-and-enter charges laid for incidents on four separate days prior to the protest

Four people are facing break-and-enter and mischief charges linked to a large protest at an Abbotsford hog farm last year.

Last year, dozens of activists stormed a Harris Road hog farm to protest what they said was the inhumane treatment of animals at the site. More than 60 people rushed into Excelsior Hog Farm in late April 2019, with dozens sitting “in solidarity” with pigs.

The protest took less place than a month after PETA released hidden-camera footage which it said showed horrific conditions of animals at the farm.

The farm’s owners disputed the allegations, and although the SPCA opened an investigation, it later closed it, saying the footage had been obtained illegally and couldn’t be used in court.

The family that operates the farm detected cameras at the site on March 23, sparking a police investigation. Shortly thereafter, the SPCA released footage of the site.

RELATED: Hidden cameras discovered on Abbotsford pig farm

RELATED: Meat The Victims animal rights group invade Abbotsford farm

One person, Amy Sorrano, was arrested during the April 28 incident and was already facing charges. Now three more people have been charged. And they, along with Soranno, are charged not only in connection with the hog farm protest, but with offences on at least four separate days prior to the protest.

According to court documents, Jeff Luke Rigear, Roy Makoto Sasano, Nicholas Steven George Schafer and Soranno all face break-and-enter and mischief charges for an offence dated to Feb. 9, more than two months prior to the protest.

Schafer, Soranno and Rigear are charged with break-and-enter for a Feb. 10 offence. Schafer and Soranno are charged with break-and-enter for offences on March 3 and 5. And Schafer, Sasano and Soranno are charged with break-and-enter and mischief on April 28, the date of the protest.

The four are scheduled to appear in court in early September.

In April, Mayor Henry Braun said he wanted to see charges laid, saying the children of the farm’s owners were “terrified” by the incidents.

“I spent two hours with the family on a Saturday, shortly after the invasion of their farm, and those kids were terrified and they didn’t understand what was going on,” Braun said.

RELATED: Hog-farm protesters should face criminal charges, Abbotsford mayor says

A media liaison for Meat The Victims, the group that organized the protest, said activists remained on the fringes of the property and proceeded straight to the barns.

In a press release, a lawyer for Animal Justice, an animal law advocacy organization, said criminal charges shouldn’t have been laid for actions that were intended to reveal wrongdoing.

“The animal agriculture industry completely lacks transparency and operates in near-total secrecy, without any government oversight of the conditions that animals are kept in,” Camille Labchuk said. “Charging these four individuals for revealing hidden criminal animal cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm is a massive misuse of justice system resources. Instead of prosecuting people who reveal illegal animal cruelty on farms, police should be focused on monitoring and prosecuting farms that abuse animals.”

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
tolsen@abbynews.com


@ty_olsen
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Police seek driver in hit-and-run crash that injured pedestrian

Woman, 59, is in hospital in critical, but stable, condition

Mike de Jong seeks another term as MLA for Abbotsford West

Incumbent Liberal candidate was first elected to the legislature in 1994

Police seek assistance locating missing Hope teen, last seen near Agassiz

RCMP say Jada Charlie-Carlson was last seen Monday in the 61000 block of Lougheed Highway

Action demanded over death of First Nations youth in Abbotsford group home

Family and Indigenous organizations push for thorough investigation

Abbotsford teacher has picture book published with message about kindness

It took Nikki Bergstresser six years to have Seasons of Stone published

B.C. counts 125 new COVID-19 cases, up to 1,284 active

No new deaths or health care facility outbreaks

Health Canada green-lights rapid COVID-19 test

Health Canada approved the BCube test from Hyris Ltd. in the United Kingdom Sept. 23

FINLAYSON: COVID-related job losses concentrated in urban areas… especially Metro Vancouver

The biggest job losses, in absolute terms, have been in Metro Vancouver

6 puppies rescued in mass seizure on Princeton farm die from illness: BC SPCA

Of the 97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized, most of the puppies suffered from parvo

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

U.S. boater fined $1,000 for violation of Quarantine Act

49-year-old man entered Canada to visit girlfriend in Surrey

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

More sex abuse charges laid against B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’

Investigators now focussing efforts on alleged victims within the Glad Tidings Church community

B.C. VOTES 2020: Businesses now owe $6 billion in deferred tax payments

COVID-19 relief from remittance to province ends with September

Most Read