Pigs feel fear, court hears in Toronto animal activist’s mischief trial
Rachael D'Amore, CTV Toronto
Published Tuesday, November 1, 2016 12:04PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, November 1, 2016 3:22PM EDT
Pigs are capable of feeling ‘fear, pain and suffering,’ a Toronto courtroom heard today in the trial of a local animal activist charged with mischief after she gave water to pigs travelling to a slaughterhouse.
Anita Krajnc, a 49-year-old activist with the group Toronto Pig Save, was charged in June 2015 in connection with an incident where she poured water through the apertures of a truck carrying pigs.
In early October, Krajnc pleaded not guilty to the charge and testified she was just “following the golden rule” of treating the pigs as she would want to be treated.
The defense called animal behaviour expert and neuroscientist Lori Marino who told the court that pigs ‘experience pain and suffering’ and also understand time perception.
Marino said that pigs' emotional and psychological behaviour is similar to that of dogs, and that they too can pick up on 'emotional distress.'
Despite ongoing court proceedings, Krajnc was arrested again on Oct. 5 for attempting to help injured pigs after a truck carrying them rolled over on a Burlington road.
Approximately 40 of the pigs -- which were also slaughter bound -- died as a result of the crash.
Krajnc was charged with obstructing a peace officer.
Speaking to CTV News Toronto outside a Burlington courthouse on Tuesday, Krajnc said she regrets getting arrested but has no intention of apologizing for her actions.
“I was just really upset and I went up there and I started taking pictures and I crossed the police line. I was guided back and I instinctually just had to be there and so I went back and I got arrested unfortunately,” Krajnc said. “It’s not what I wanted. I wanted to be with the pigs.”
Animal rights activists with Toronto Pig Save returned to the Burlington slaughter house this morning to give water to other pigs, despite the ongoing trial.
“We’re giving water to the pigs here today and we have done it before the trial and we will continue to do it afterwards,” one supporter told CTV News Toronto. “It’s not something that was a one-time stunt, this is part of our way of showing compassion to the animals.”
Krajnc’s efforts with Toronto Pig Save has prompted support from the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and other Canadian animal activist groups.
Recently, Mission: Impossible III and Designated Survivor actor Maggie Q publicly voiced her support for Krajnc.
At an event hosted on Tuesday by PETA at Dark Horse Espresso Bar on Spadina Avenue in Toronto, Q said she thought Krajnc’s story “must be a joke” at first.
“I don’t think that compassion is a crime and if she does end up going to jail for this I think it sets a very dangerous precedent for Ontario,” she told CP24 on Tuesday. “It allows for the thought to enter your head when you can make a decision to show compassion -- whether it be to an animal or a person -- it gives people pause because if it could possibly cost them or put them in prison, people aren’t going to show compassion the way that they should. That’s a very dangerous thing to happen in this society.”
If convicted, Krajnc faces jail time or a maximum $5,000 fine.
“This case is so much bigger than Anita and so much bigger than what she’s brought to light – bless her – but at the same time, these animals are treated like this all the time. They suffer this way daily,” Q said.
A group of supporters also rallied outside the courthouse this morning to show their support for Krajnc as the trial commenced.
“I’d much rather be here handing out an award to her than supporting what I see as a ridiculous court case, but we do have to support her,” another supporter told CTV News Toronto outside the courtroom. “She did the right thing and we believe in what she believes in.”