They are not advocating for better animal welfare
By Kurtis R. Andrews, Farm and Animal Law Lawyer
It was recently reported that the Ontario government is considering “all options including new legislation” to better protect farmers from protestors trespassing on farms and harassing livestock transporters. This is welcome news and essential to restore farmer’s and drivers’ sense of safety and security.
Meanwhile, in response, activists are complaining because they claim that such a law would prevent the public from seeing “what happens on farms.” Camille Labchuk of Animal Justice Canada, an animal rights advocacy group, was quoted as saying, “the reason that we’re seeing animal advocates going onto farms is because it’s the only way for them to see the conditions animals are kept without any regulations, without any government inspections.”
This statement is misleading for a number of reasons. First, and most obviously, farms are subject to a robust regime of regulations and inspections. Any livestock farmer can tell you this.
More subtlety, however, is that this statement implies that activists’ motivation is to ensure that livestock is cared for properly. Such a suggestion is false and misleading. Activists’ motivation is not about how agriculture-animals are looked after. Their goal is to end animal-agriculture altogether, and they recognize that actions that provoke fear and intimidation are effective weapons.
This point should never be forgotten when engaging activists in a dialogue about the permissibility of their activities. Oversight is not their job, it is the job of the government. Everyone, and livestock farmers in particular, support the best possible animal welfare standards. Trespassing and harassment have nothing to do with this. Provocation of fear and intimidation should never be tolerated in our society – morally or legally.
Skeptical? Ask any of these activists to describe how it would be acceptable to them to raise and slaughter animals. There would be no answer. These activists are in pursuit of a vegan agenda that does involve any livestock agriculture, period.
If legislation designed to protect farmers does eventually come down the pipe, there is no doubt that Animal Justice and others will advocate against it. When they do, they should at least be honest about why they oppose it.
Note: Nothing in this article should be taken to constitute “legal advice.” The contents represent legal information only. For legal advice, please contact Kurtis Andrews or another lawyer with the specifics of your situation.