Protestors strum away in front of the Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford on Sunday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

VIDEO: One person arrested at protest at Abbotsford pig farm

Over one hundred protestors have invade Excelsior Hog Farm on Harris Road

One person has been arrested and 64 others were given a promise to appear roadside arrest following a protest at Excelsior Hog Farms in Abbotsford.

Hundreds of protestors descended onto the farm early on Sunday morning, with a handful entering buildings housing pigs.

The groups arrived in school buses at the farm on Harris Road at approximately 6:30 a.m., with police responding shortly after 7 a.m.

Police then closed Harris Road at both ways connecting the farm, as police dealt with protestors inside who refused to leave.

While protestors were outside, several dozen more sat outside with signs and sang songs.

Media on hand were told at approximately 8:30 a.m. that they would be allowed to tour the facility, but that then became a negotiation with police and veterinary staff on hand. The vet staff stated that the animals were stressed out and only a small number of media could enter.

Select media were allowed to tour the facility at around 11 a.m., with Black Press being one of the given the chance to tour.

The farm recently became a controversial site after footage was released earlier this week that allegedly showed the corpses of dead piglets among live animals at the location.

FACEBOOK LIVE FROM THE SCENE:

The groups arrived in school buses at the farm just before 6:30 a.m., with police responding shortly after 7 a.m.

Police then closed Harris Road at both ways connecting the farm, as police dealt with protesters inside who refused to leave.

Media on hand were told at approximately 8:30 a.m. that they would be allowed to tour the facility, but that then became a negotiation with police and veterinary staff on hand. The vet staff stated that the animals were stressed out and only a small number of media could enter.

Select media were allowed to tour the facility at around 11 a.m., with Black Press among those given the chance to tour.

Those inside the farm eventually left later that afternoon, with Kelowna resident Amy Sorrano charged with breaking and entering and mischief. Sorrano identifies herself as an “animal liberation activist” and has a Patreon page intended to promote her activism. Sorrano did not respond to a request for more information from The News.

The others inside were identified and then released by police. Abbotsford Police stated that they are continuing to investigate the incident, with possible additional charges to follow.

Farm owner Ray Binnendyk told media during the tour that it has been a difficult time for his family.

“As a family, this is very hard for us and what we’ve had to deal with in the last number of weeks,” he said. “We really pray that everyone sees the truth about us and that we are good people trying to make a good product and raise animals to the best of our ability.”

Binnendyk added that Sunday was an uncomfortable one for him and his family.

“We feel very invaded,” he said. “Our private property… people just act like it’s all right to walk onto someone’s property.”

He and his brother also expressed concern that protesters may have brought other disease or sickness onto the farm when they entered. That sentiment was echoed by the farm’s veterinarian, Josh Waddington.

“What I hope that the public realizes is that by their actions … this group of people have put the livestock at this farm at serious health risk,” he said.

Waddington said he believes some of the footage that was recorded and distributed was from a special-care section of the farm.

“In almost all production facilities, there is a hospital area where animals are gathered because they have conditions that we would like to see under treatment and observation and, in that case, that’s what was shown,” he said of the PETA video. “Some of those conditions are still here and present, and those animals are under treatment.”

Dan Moskaluk, who was acting as the spokesperson for Meat The Victims, said he and his group want to raise awareness about animal cruelty.

“We are here to stand in solidarity with the animals and the purpose of this action is to expose the realities of what is happening to the victims of the meat industry,” he said. “We believe that people are making choices that are contrary to their values. They would not want to support this industry if they truly knew what was happening.”

A press release from Meat The Victims reiterated many of Moskaluk’s points:

The aim of this action is to expose the reality of what is happening to the victims of the ‘meat’ industry and to challenge the current mindset within our society.

The truth is being hidden from the public and we believe that people are making choices that go against their values. Most people are against animal cruelty & would not want to support this industry if they knew what was truly happening. The public has a right to know.

These industries perpetuate the ‘humane myth’ with labels such as ‘local,’ ‘free range’, ‘grass fed’, ‘organic’, & ‘cage free’ – all terms which are used to deceive and mislead the public into believing that animals are ‘humanely raised & humanely killed.’ We are here to show that this is not the case. We are forcing transparency in an industry that relies on secrecy.

The needless violence inflicted upon these animals needs to stop. This facility is not unique in their horrendous treatment of animals. This is a standard representation of factory farming here in Canada. This action is not about this one facility, or a call for better animal welfare standards, but rather a call to end the inherently violent animal agriculture industry entirely.

Our message is simple: Animals are here with us, not for us.

It’s not clear when results of the SPCA investigation will be released.

Here’s a timeline of the events that transpired leading up to and on the day of the protest:

March 23 – A family member of the property in the 33000 block of Harris Road (Excelsior Hog Farms) notices two cameras inside a barn and one on the outside, and notifies police of their presence. It was later determined that camera had been filming since March 15.

April 23 – PETA releases a video allegedly from the farm depicting disturbing conditions.

April 28

6:25 a.m. – A group of 60 protesters exit a school bus outside the farm and illegally enter the property. A bus of other protesters line the road with signs and begin singing songs and chants.

6:45 a.m. – Abbotsford Police arrive on scene. Harris Road is blocked off from both sides connected to the farm shortly thereafter.

8:30 a.m. – Police continue negotiations with protesters inside. The protesters demand that media be allowed to tour and document what is inside.

10:45 a.m. – As negotiations continue, police state only six members of the media can go on the tour because veterinarians at the site are concerned about the health and stress of the animals. CTV is not allowed to enter as per the family’s request. CBC, Global, Canadian Press, Black Press and The Intercept (New York Times) are permitted access.

11:00 a.m. – The reporter from The Intercept is removed from the group going on the tour, as the family states they saw the reporter on the bus with the protesters. The reporter, who did travel as an embedded journalist with the protesters, is escorted back to the street. Police do not allow another reporter to replace her as a sixth member.

11:27 a.m. – Family members, neighbours, friends and other farmers gather in the front yard of the farm to support Excelsior. They write on a whiteboard sign that “We Love Our Farm,” with others signing their name on the whiteboard.

11:48 a.m. – Media complete the farm tour.

Approximately 12:30 p.m. – Protesters leave. One person is arrested

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

Just Posted

Ladysmith A&W plans community Rod Run for June 4

Cruisin’ the Dub will look a little different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Ladysmith centenarian honoured with birthday parade

Kay Rozzano said she’s been looking forward to this birthday ‘for 100 years’

Council votes to move forward with detailed site investigation of waterfront area lands

The “uplands area” of the Ladysmith waterfront has historical contaminants that must be remediated

Senior who was excessively speeding in Ladysmith says RCMP shouldn’t have impounded her vehicle

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Chemainus animal sanctuary needs your vote in nationwide contest

RASTA is up for $5,000 from Nutram; contest runs until May 31

Mission prison COVID-19 outbreak ends, 9 new cases in B.C.

New positive test at Port Coquitlam care home

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Man who bound, murdered Vancouver Island teen still a risk to public: parole board

Kimberly Proctor’s killer is still ‘mismanaging emotions,’ has had ‘temper tantrums’

VIDEO: Humpback whales put on quite a show

The ‘playful’ pod lingered by a Campbell River tour operator’s boat for quite some time

Getting hitched at historic B.C. gold rush town still on table during COVID-19 pandemic

Micro-weddings, online visits, offered at Barkerville Historic Town and Park

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch on central Vancouver Island yard

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by Nanaimo RCMP after being found by city crew

Revelstoke woman finds welcoming letter on her Alberta-registered truck

There have been multiple reports online of vandalism to vehicles with Alberta licence plates

Spirit bear possibly spotted in West Kootenay

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run near Castlegar on May 27

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Most Read