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Canada Animal rights activists decry Ontario bill that would limit farm protests

07:15  26 january  2020
07:15  26 january  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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Animal rights groups have begun protesting and petitioning against Ontario Bill 156 — a law aimed at curbing activism against farms and farming A group of about 20 animal rights activists showed up at Ottawa's Lansdowne Park Saturday with signs and leaflets, encouraging the public to sign a

Animal rights activists walk along Queen Street in Brantford, Ontario on Wednesday afternoon April 18 “People have a right to participate in legal protests , but this does not include trespassing on That would mean animal rights groups could not expose cases of abuse by using whistleblowers. The new bill proposes to prohibit “interfering or interacting with farm animals being transported by a

a group of people walking down a street next to a sign: Ottawa animal rights activists protested Saturday at Lansdowne Park.© Radio-Canada Ottawa animal rights activists protested Saturday at Lansdowne Park.

Animal rights groups have begun protesting and petitioning against Ontario Bill 156 — a law aimed at curbing activism against farms and farming practices.

The Security From Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2019 was introduced in the Ontario legislature late last year.

Agriculture Minister Ernie Hardeman said the bill comes in response to complaints from farmers about animal rights groups trespassing on their private property.

In debate, Hardeman called the bill a "bio-security" measure, to protect food safety. The bill is now in its second reading.

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Demonstrations from animal rights activists often violate the biosecurity of farms or trucks delivering livestock to a processing plant, putting the In May, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture — speaking on behalf of eight livestock producer associations — expressed disappointment when charges were

The modern animal rights movement likely originated in Britain during the 1800s and gained sympathizers over time, including many abolitionists.[1] The movement was designed to prevent abuse and neglect as well as promote better standards of living for animals . The late 1800s gave way to a

If passed, the bill would increase fines for anyone caught trespassing on farmland and food processing plants, and introduce new measures against interfering with animal transportation.

The law would also make it illegal to gain access to a farm under "false pretences" — effectively making undercover filming an offence.

Ottawa protests

A group of about 20 animal rights activists showed up at Ottawa's Lansdowne Park Saturday with signs and leaflets, encouraging the public to sign a petition against the law. It was one of several protests planned over the next month,

"It will stop people from seeing animal suffering," said Lucie Tsi, who works with the Ottawa group Animal Rebellion.

She fears the proposed law will halt animal activism.

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Copy link. TORONTO – Ontario has introduced a new bill that the government says will protect farmers from aggressive animal rights activists . Livestock producers have been pressing the government to prosecute those who trespass on their properties and aggressively protest at

Ontario Federation of Agriculture spokesman Keith Currie said the farming community has been dealing with aggressive protests for years, and That would mean animal rights groups could not expose cases of abuse by using whistleblowers. "For someone who gets a job and doesn't disclose

If caught trespassing on a farm, offenders could be fined as much as $25,000, a significant hike from the current $10,000 maximum under the Trespass to Property Act.

It would also introduce fines for interacting with farm animals which are being transported by a vehicle without permission.

Krajnc case would be illegal

Tsi points to the example of Ontario activist Anita Krajnc who made headlines in 2017 when she was arrested for giving water to pigs on the back of a transport truck on the way to a slaughterhouse.

Krajnc was acquitted on charges of mischief, but if the new law is passed, similar actions could be found in violation.

Farmers have been lobbying for legislation to protect them from the threat of more "aggressive tactics" from animal rights activists.

"It poses stress on farmers, and anxiety that it might happen to them," said Mireille Leroux, first vice-president of the Union des Cultivateurs Franco-Ontariens.

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Dozens of animal rights activists are seen at a southern Alberta farm engaged in what they are called a liberation lockdown for turkeys. The Ontario government says it will consider all options to shield this province's farmers from activists . (Cranbrook Friends of Animals Society).

a young boy wearing a hat: Lucie Tsi is with the Ottawa group Animal Rebellion. She fears Bill 156 will shut down animal activism.© Radio-Canada Lucie Tsi is with the Ottawa group Animal Rebellion. She fears Bill 156 will shut down animal activism.

"The more aggressive activism is what farmers fear the most," she said. "So we want to keep our families safe, and our work environment safe."

Legislation 'unconstitutional'

Similar legislation was passed in Alberta earlier this year, and also exists in the United States.

But among the half-dozen states that now have what activists call "Ag-Gag" laws, courts have struck down legislation in Idaho, Iowa and Utah as being unconstitutional.

Last week a U.S. federal judge ruled the law in Kansas banning undercover filming at farms and slaughterhouse facilities "criminalizes" free speech.

"The prohibition on taking pictures at an animal facility regulates speech for First Amendment purposes," wrote U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil.

Camille Labchuk, a lawyer with the group Animal Justice, said Ontario's law could also be challenged in court.

"The legislation makes it illegal to essentially expose animal cruelty on farms," she said.

"It makes it very difficult for advocates to expose what happens behind closed doors, and that restricts people's freedom of expression."

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