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On Thursday the 4th May all eyes will be turned to Burlington, Canada where the long anticipated final court hearing will take place for animal rights activist Anita Krajnc, Co-Founder of Toronto Pig Save. The Canadian activist, who is facing a potential six month prison sentence, caused a global media storm when she was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for giving water to severely dehydrated pigs in a transportation truck destined for slaughter in June 2015.
The case, dubbed ‘The Pig Trial’, sparked thousands of activists from all corners of the world to share the message that compassion is not a crime, a phrase now synonymous with the trial itself.
Ms Krajnc and her defence, lawyers James Silver and Gary Grill, both vegan, have argued that pigs are persons, not property and that in giving water to thirsty pigs Ms Krajnc was following ‘The Golden Rule’ - treat others as you wish to be treated.
The defence team have also used the trial as an opportunity to put the actions of the animal agriculture industry under the spotlight, using virtual reality footage showing the standard treatment of pigs in factory farms and evidence from prominent scientists to show that pigs are self-aware and sentient.
Ms Krajnc argued in her defence that she believes society needs to not only be aware of the sentience of pigs but should be educated on the huge environmental and health implications raising and killing animals incurs. As such Ms Krajnc believes that in going to vigils she is acting in the best interests of the public.
In court Ms Krajnc described the objective of The Save Movement as being a ‘three-fold mission’, stating: ‘Our first mission is to promote a non-violent vegan world, we want everyone, all people, to go vegan. Second part of our mission is to promote activism; we want everyone to be an activist and an organiser. And the third part of our mission is to promote a cultural shift so that everyone sees bearing witness as a duty.’
The Save Movement started in Toronto in 2011 with the aim of bearing witness to the plight of animals being driven to slaughter. The grassroots organisation has since spread all across the world with more than 130 Save groups now operating outside slaughterhouses in North and South America, Asia and Europe.
In the UK alone there are now upwards of 40 Save groups spanning the length and breadth of the country, all holding regular vigils outside slaughterhouses, showing compassion to the animals and documenting the conditions they are in to share online.
Solidarity vigils are being held globally on the 4th May to show support for Ms Krajnc, with an all-day vigil commencing at 7am outside the aptly named Fearman’s ‘Pork’ inc, the pig slaughterhouse where Ms Krajnc was initially arrested.
Supporters are being encouraged to sign up to the Compassion Is Not A Crime Thunderclap which has already amassed over 4,000 supporters with a social reach of nearly 6 million:
And to use the hashtags #pigtrial and #compassionisnotacrime to get them trending worldwide and to raise more awareness to the story.
Regardless of the final verdict, ‘The Pig Trial’ has managed to bring the suffering of pigs to the forefront of millions of people’s minds and paved the way for dozens of new Save groups to emerge all around the world.
With more people than ever pledging their support to The Save Movement and a wave of new activists hitting the streets, eager to fight for the lives of animals, Ms Krajnc can be comfortable in the knowledge that she has created a movement that simply can’t be stopped.
The trial commences at 9am Eastern Daylight Time.
Ed Winters is a passionate animal rights activist, popular vegan Youtuber and co-founder of SURGE an animal advocacy group.
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