TORONTO – On the eve of a court appearance, an Ontario woman is unapologetic about providing water to sweltering pigs in a truck on their way to the slaughterhouse on a hot day earlier this year.
Animal rights activist Anita Krajnc is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday to face a mischief charge following a protest in June with her group, Toronto Pig Save, in Burlington, Ont.
As she and a friend waited for the pigs on a roadway median, the truck pulled up hauling the animals from Van Boekel Hog Farms to Fearman’s Pork slaughterhouse about 100 kilometres away. Krajnc gave water from a bottle to the animals through slats in the truck’s trailer.
The truck’s driver, identified as Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf in court documents, got out of the truck and began arguing with the two women. The confrontation was captured on video.
“Have some compassion, have some compassion!” Krajnc yells in the video to the truck driver.
“Let’s call the cops,” the driver says, holding his phone.
“Call Jesus,” Krajnc says as she continues to allow the pigs to drink the water.
“Yeah, no. What do you got in that water?” he asks.
“Water,” Krajnc says.
“No, no, how do I know?” he says.
“Trust me,” she says.
“Don’t put it in there again,” he says.
“If this pig is thirsty, they’ll have water,” she says.
“You do it again and I’ll slap it out of your hands,” he says.
“Go ahead, if you want an assault charge, go ahead! Film this, film this, film this!” Krajnc yells.
The driver then gets back in the truck and drives away.
The farm’s owner, Eric Van Boekel, filed a complaint with police the next day.
“They can protest all they want — they have the right of freedom of speech that thousands of soldiers have died for,” Van Boekel told The Canadian Press in an interview Tuesday. “I have no problem with them protesting; just leave my stuff alone.”
In mid-September, a Halton Regional police officer served Krajnc with a summons. She was formally charged with mischief under $5,000 in October.
“I think it’s an outrageous charge and goes against my deepest philosophical beliefs in terms of what all our obligations are, and to me the most important thing in life is to be of service to others and to someone or some animal who is suffering,” she said.
“I will not admit guilt to what I did — it’s the right thing to do and we will continue to do it.”
Van Boekel, meantime, vowed he “will go to the full extent of the law to stop them.”
“If you’re driving down the road and you have your window down and you come to an intersection and I feel you need some water or a drink, how would you feel if I stick my hands in your personal space?” Van Boekel said.
“Those animals are well provided for and well cared for.”
Krajnc is equally defiant. She says she and her friends with Toronto Pig Save will be providing water to pigs on their way to the same slaughterhouse on Thursday, a day after making her court appearance in Milton.