Justice Marco LaBrie has released a written copy of his April 14th, 2022 ruling convicting eleven individuals of criminal break and enter and obstructing police. The convictions followed a December 2019 occupation of the Porgreg pig farm in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, near Montreal. The court described the images obtained of pigs as “Impactful, poignant, troubling, and disturbing”, depicting “crowded pigs in their cages; dirty floors in some of the pigs’ cages, partially covered with feces; pigs covered in dirt; several threads of cobwebs pending from the ceiling or from some devices; large numbers of flies inside the piggery; dust-covered devices, etc.”. The sixty-five page decision also discusses two reports from a provincial inspector conducted contemporaneously with the occupation, finding that the farm failed to comply with applicable animal welfare standards—contrary to assertions made by the farm owner that Porgreg was in compliance with provincial standards. LaBrie J. rejected multiple claims by the farm owner that the occupiers damaged farm property, yet still found that their mere presence inside the pigsty constituted an offence. LaBrie J. refused to apply a defence offered under s. 430(7) of the Criminal Code, which is that the actions of the accused were solely to obtain or communicate information. Ultimately, the eleven occupiers were found guilty of (i) obstructing a peace officer in the execution of their duties and (ii) break and enter. The decision is available here: R c McQueen et al, 2022 QCCQ, File No. 750-01-057154-20.
[To accompany Litigation Update "Judgment Released for Eleven Advocates Convicted for Quebec Pig Farm Action" from Brooks Animal Law CANADA Digest Issue No. 16.]