By Connor Lynch
BURLINGTON — Farmers hoping for a guilty verdict in the now infamous trial of animal activist Anita Kranjc may have another thing coming, said Ottawa-based ag lawyer Kurtis Andrews.
“It appears to me that the Crown’s case hasn’t gone very well,” Andrews told Farmers Forum.
During the trial, the Crown argued that Kranjc endangered the food system by giving what appeared to be water to hogs on the way to slaughter in Burlington in 2015. The defence has all but put animal agriculture on trial, with Kranjc’s lawyer comparing her to Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, and the transportation of livestock to slaughterhouse to the transportation of Jews to concentration camps during the Holocaust. Her lawyer, Gary Grill, went on to say that “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.” During the trial, Kranjc also said that giving a child bacon was the same as giving him a cigarette.
Kranjc was charged with mischief. She pled not guilty.
The problem with the Crown’s case, as it appears to Andrews, is the difference between what was said and what was done with the animals involved. The Crown argued that Kranjc interfered with the use of property, which is the crux of a mischief charge. The water given to the pigs “was repeatedly referred to as an unknown substance; there’s the implication there that it could’ve harmed the animals. So I understood some action would have to have taken place to quarantine, or destroy the animals.”
“But as I understand it, the animals all ended up in the food system. So although they said that it was a concern, their actions suggested otherwise,” Andrews said.
In a situation like this, Andrews said it would have been best to take the animals out of the food system to demonstrate concern for food safety.
“If they (the farmer) were genuinely worried (the animals had been contaminated), they should also be worried about a negligence claim against them if the food had to be recalled,” he said. Andrews added because that would’ve caused a loss for the farmer, it also would’ve more clearly justified a criminal mischief charge.
Justice David Harris is expected to deliver a verdict in the case on May 4.