Closing arguments today for trial of woman who gave water to pigs

Pig Trial: Anita Krajnc found not guilty of mischief charge for giving water to pigs

Lawyers presented closing arguments today in the Burlington, Ont., mischief trial of a woman charged with giving water to pigs en route to slaughter.

Anita Krajnc, an activist with Toronto Pig Save, pleaded not guilty to mischief after pouring bottled water through the openings of a trailer filled with pigs outside Fearman's Pork Inc. in June 2015.

The truck was coming from Eric Van Boekel's Oxford County hog farm. The activists approached the trailer. A video taken by Toronto Pig Save shows the pigs are crowded and panting.

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During the six-day trial last fall, witnesses included experts in animal behaviour and footage of slaughterhouses.

Agricultural organizations and Halton police say Krajnc was tampering with someone else's property, and that the driver had no way of knowing the liquid was water. Krajnc has said she was operating in the public good, and therefore not committing mischief.

If found guilty, Krajnc could face a $5,000 and jail time. The singer Moby has offered to pay her fine. Justice David Harris will render a verdict on May 4.

The trial has attracted intense attention from animal activists. 

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), called it a "landmark case."

"We're hoping this pivotal moment will wake people up," she said outside the courtroom.

Closing arguments are expected to wrap up around noon ET.

Harutyun Apel is assistant Crown attorney. James Silver and Gary Grill are representing Krajnc. 

In the closing arguments, Grill equated the suffering of the pigs to the suffering of Jews in Nazi Germany, saying people use the same justification to turn away from both.

"A pig is the same as a human, and the offence we commit in relation to a pig in causing that suffering is the same gravity as the offence we create to a human who suffers the same way," he said afterward.

Treating suffering animals different from suffering humans, he told the judge, "is the same justification of the historical mistreatment of others based on irrelevancies such as skin colour, gender, sexual orientation."

Krajnc was also arrested last October, this time at the scene of an accident where another truck full of pigs headed to the same pork plant flipped over in Burlington.

In October, outside Fearmans Pork Plant, the squeals of injured pigs filled the air after a truck rolled over near the plant. Workers walked the surviving animals across a parking lot to the nearby plant where they were to be slaughtered.

Police said 40 of the 180 pigs in the truck died in the crash. Halton police say Krajnc was arrested Wednesday for "obstructing police," but called the rest of the demonstration "largely peaceful."

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC