Court Rules in Favor of Compassion for Animal Rights Activist

Court Rules in Favor of Compassion for Animal Rights Activist

A Canadian judge ruled that an animal rights activist was not breaking the law when she offered water to pigs outside an Ontario slaughterhouse en route to their death.

Anita Krajnc, 49, founder of animal rights group Toronto Pig Save, was charged with criminal mischief in June 2015 as she offered water into to a trailer full of pigs awaiting slaughter.

Krajnc approached the driver of the vehicle, asking to give the pigs water. The exchange was captured on video. The drive told Krajnc not to give them any water, to which she replied, “Jesus said if they are thirsty, give them water.”

The driver responded, “No, you know what, these are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad!” As Krajnc ignores the man and put the water bottle into the trailer, the driver threatened to slap the bottle out of her hands and call the police.

The prosecution alleged that the “unknown liquid” provided by Krajnc put the animals at risk of being rejected by the slaughterhouse, since Krajnc was not employed by the farm or authorized to feed the animals. But the animals were processed on schedule, despite her efforts to offer hydration and compassion in their final moments.

“The judge recognized compassion as a virtue in this case, and common sense prevailed in the finding that Anita Krajnc was not guilty for showing mercy to terrified, thirsty pigs on their way to slaughter,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement.

While the decision is a victory for Krajnc and animal activists everywhere, the judge was quick to dismiss the defense’s position that pigs are nonhuman persons, a status now widely accepted about other animals including dolphins. Pigs are highly intelligent animals – some research points to them as smarter than dogs. But they’re not afforded the same liberties as house pets. More than one billion pigs around the world — 100 million in the U.S. — are killed every year for food.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.