BURLINGTON, Ont. — A Toronto woman who is on trial for giving water to pigs on their way to slaughter told court on Monday that feeding bacon to children is tantamount to child abuse, comparing the popular breakfast staple to cigarettes.
Anita Krajnc, 49, testified that the negative health effects of bacon were on her mind when she poured water through the portholes of a truck carrying pigs to a slaughterhouse in Burlington, Ont., on a hot day in June 2015.
Krajnc, an activist with the group Toronto Pig Save, has pleaded not guilty to a mischief charge in the incident, although she has admitted that she gave water to the pigs.
Crown attorney Harutyun Apel challenged the parallel between bacon and cigarettes during cross examination, asking whether Krajnc would call child protective services if she witnessed abuse.
Krajnc said she would, but when asked whether she'd make a similar call about a parent feeding bacon to their kid, she conceded that she would not.
James Silver, one of Krajnc's defence lawyers, said outside court that his team is arguing Krajnc was acting in the public good, and was therefore not breaking the law.
But the Crown argues that the pigs are the property of the farmer, and Krajnc was interfering with his property when she gave them water.
During cross examination, Krajnc denied she was "interfering" with someone else's property, saying she'd rather use the word "intervening."
Krajnc testified that she was "just following the golden rule" in feeding the pigs, treating them as she would want to be treated.
She said the pigs were foaming at the mouth, hot and thirsty on June 22, 2015.
But court heard on the first day of trial in August from the man driving the truck, Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf, that the pigs were not thirsty. He said he'd been working with pigs for all his life, so he knew what a thirsty pig looked like, and the pigs in his truck were fine.
On the day of the incident, Veldjesgraaf got out of his truck and argued with Krajnc who was dumping a liquid from a water bottle into the truck as it approached the Fearmans Pork slaughterhouse, he testified.
Krajnc told court that she had spent hundreds of hours "bearing witness" to animals as they are were transported to slaughter, and was sometimes accompanied by police who were keeping a watchful eye.
She said that before her arrest, police had never told her it was illegal to feed the pigs. She took that as an implicit blessing from police, she testified.
She also testified that seeing a truck full of pigs is, to her, like seeing "a truck full of four-year-old children," saying that pigs have the same level of intelligence as those kids.
Krajnc said outside court that she hopes the trial will bring attention to her cause.
"If they put me in jail for this, it will be good for the cause," she said.
The trial is to resume Nov. 1.