KITCHENER — Police stymied a planned sit-in that included 160 animal rights activists at a Kitchener-area turkey farm in the leadup to Thanksgiving.
Apparently tipped off, Waterloo Regional Police officers were ready and blocking the entrance to the Hybrid Turkey company’s Mapleglen Farm location when the self-proclaimed ‘Meat the Victims’ protesters showed up on Oct. 3.
The Cambridge Record reports that some members of the group had intended to enter the turkey barns for a sit-in — replicating a stunt successfully pulled off at a B.C. hog farm. But it was not to be that morning in Ontario, where the province has passed legislation strengthening on-farm anti-trespassing measures to protect agricultural operations and their livelihoods from such nuisance.
The protest, which police describe as peaceful, continued off the farm property.
Several activists never made it to the scene, however, as police managed to track down and arrest them in advance of their arrival, according to The Record.
Police report that six individuals have been charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit an indictable offence. Three of the accused were held for bail hearings, and three were released and will appear in court Nov. 17.
The protesters decried Ontario’s Bill 156 — the upgraded Ontario law that increases penalties for anyone trespassing in an “animal protection” zone or entering under false pretenses.
The animal activist community derides the legislation, which passed last December, as an “ag gag” law. Some groups are challenging the law in court.