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

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

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Castlegar City Council at a January Zoom meeting. Clockwise: Maria McFaddin, Bergen Price, Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff, Cherryl MacLeod, Florio Vassilakakis, Dan Rye.
Castlegar council temporarily fills vacancies left by departing mayor

Councillor Dan Rye will serve as the acting mayor until the byelection

Interior Health has set up a COVID-19 testing site in Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
No new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Castlegar for Jan. 3-9

The BCDCD has begun to report more localized COVID-19 numbers in recent weeks

Community mental health workers are in high demand, and a new program at Selkirk College will provide opportunities in this field. File Photo
Selkirk College to train community mental health workers

Twelve students will complete two courses enabling them to work in health and human services

The City of Castlegar plans to move to renewable energy by 2050. Photo: Betsy Kline
City of Castlegar adopts West Kootenay 100% Renewable Energy Plan

It represents a commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

A new video from NCCIH and BC Northern Health titled ‘Healing in Pandemic Times: Indigenous Peoples, Stigma and COVID-19’ was animated by Joanne Gervais. (Photo Provided By: NCCIH Archives)
VIDEO: Stigma against Indigenous people is a ‘social sickness’

A new short animated video is aiming to educate the public on the stigmatization

Most Read