Animal activists occupy a pig farm in Saint-Hyacinthe and are arrested
MONTREAL -- Eleven animal rights activists from the group Direction Action Everywhere - DxE occupied a pig breeding facility in Saint-Hyacinthe Saturday demanding full access inside the agribusiness operation and a meeting with Quebec Premier Francois Legault to discuss animal rights.
The activists entered around 4 a.m. and live-streamed their occupation on Facebook.
DxE activist Jenny McQueen narrates the video and points out conditions for the animals in their enclosures at Por Greg Farm.
"The mother pig is on her side, and she had a huge abscess on her teats," said McQueen in the video. "We are demanding that the media come and film the conditions that we find here."
The video records small enclosures the windowless rooms and the activists claim the pigs show signs of illness.
"These are adult pigs. They know their plight. They know how miserable their conditions are," said McQueen.
DxE would like Quebec to enact Rose's Law Animal Bill of Rights - which includes a right to rescue, and right to protection of animals among other policies.
In 2015 Quebec passed legislation defining animals as sentient beings but that law doesn't stop animals from being raised for food.
Around 10:20 a.m., activist Jenny Donovan spoke to CTV News Montreal after being arrested along with her fellow activists at the farm.
She spoke about being in the building with the animals.
"We've seen a lot of footage online, on Facebook or whatever, but being there is a completely different experience," said Donovan. "The ammonia is so thick that your eyes burn. The stench in the air is absolutely nauseating, and there's a density to the air, there are particles floating around and then, of course, you're seeing these intelligent creatures stuck in cages that they can't even turn around in."
Canadian Pok Council spokesperson Gary Stordy said trespassing onto pig farms could pose a health risk for the animals.
"Someone entering the barn not understand the biosecurity procedures of that farm... simply showing up with a mask and white suit is not biosecure, there's a number of steps involved in most facilities," he said.
Donovan expects a court date in the new year and DxE will plan its next steps.
"We're waiting for our friends to come out and we all have to make an appearance towards the end of January, and I guess we'll see what the ramifications are," said Donovan.
Donovan did not speak with the farmers directly.
The SQ said police were called before 8 a.m., and that the mandate in these types of cases is to not comment on the arrest.