Canada woman faces 10 years in prison for giving pigs water on hot day
The sight of pigs packed into a lorry on a sweltering June day was too much for Anita Krajnc who felt the animals should at least have some water on their journey to the slaughterhouse.
What was meant as a humanitarian gesture has now left Ms Krajnc facing the threat of up to 10 years in a Canadian jail or a potential fine of nearly £2,500.
On Monday, the latest chapter in what is becoming a global cause celebre for animal rights activists will be played out at a court in Milton, Ontario, when a judge will set a trial date for Ms Krajnc, who has been charged with “criminal mischief”.
Under Canadian law, pigs are treated as property and can be transported for up to 36 hours without food, water or rest.
That is not good enough for Ms Krajnc, 48, who earns her living as a consultant on a number of animal welfare projects and runs Toronto Pig Save.
The group stands by the roadside in wait for passing pig trucks, and then pokes water and fruit through the slats in the trailer. However, those involved in the pig transportation industry say the group's activities risk endangering the pigs and can also pose a road safety hazard.
Farmers also argue that Ms Krajnc’s well-meaning gesture increased the pigs’ suffering as they clambered over each other to try to snatch a gulp of water from the bottle.
But Ms Krajnc has global support. Her Toronto Pig Save has spawned similar vegan animal rights groups across the world, including one as far afield as Melbourne.
Ms Krajnc is ready to face jail for her beliefs.
“We have a duty to give food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. I won’t accept a fine, I would rather go to prison.”