A recently passed bill will allow authorities in Ontario to issue large fines to protesters who interfere with the transport of livestock.
On June 18, the Ontario government passed Bill 156, also known as the Security from Trespass and Protecting Food Safety Act, 2020.
The bill is intended to protect health, safety, and the food supply chain by punishing those who trespass on private property in order to steal or interact with farm animals.
A section of the bill specifically prohibits protesters from interacting with livestock haulers: “Section 6 prohibits persons from interfering with a motor vehicle that is transporting farm animals and from interfering or interacting with the farm animals in the motor vehicle without the prior consent of the driver of the motor vehicle.”
According to Ontario authorities, Bill 156 will allow for “escalating fines of up to $15,000 for a first offence and $25,000 for subsequent offences, compared to a maximum of $10,000 under the Trespass to Property Act.”
The bill also allows the court to order protesters to pay restitution if they damage property or livestock.
The bill was passed shortly before the June 19 death of prominent animal rights activist Regan Russell, 65, who died after she was run over by a truck outside of the Fearman’s Pork Inc. meat processing facility in Burlington, Ontario.
Russell was associated with animal rights group Toronto Pig Save, who said that “Bill 156 is designed to cover up animal cruelty on farms and during transport.”
Activists frequently hold vigils outside of the facility, asking truck drivers to stop to allow them to film and sometimes give water to the animals inside.
The video below featured one of the vigils and was shared by Toronto Pig Save on Wednesday morning.