Protestors strum away in front of the Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford on Sunday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

Protestors strum away in front of the Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford on Sunday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

VIDEO: One person arrested at protest at Abbotsford pig farm

Over one hundred protestors have invade Excelsior Hog Farm on Harris Road

One person has been arrested and 64 others were given a promise to appear roadside arrest following a protest at Excelsior Hog Farms in Abbotsford.

Hundreds of protestors descended onto the farm early on Sunday morning, with a handful entering buildings housing pigs.

The groups arrived in school buses at the farm on Harris Road at approximately 6:30 a.m., with police responding shortly after 7 a.m.

Police then closed Harris Road at both ways connecting the farm, as police dealt with protestors inside who refused to leave.

While protestors were outside, several dozen more sat outside with signs and sang songs.

Media on hand were told at approximately 8:30 a.m. that they would be allowed to tour the facility, but that then became a negotiation with police and veterinary staff on hand. The vet staff stated that the animals were stressed out and only a small number of media could enter.

Select media were allowed to tour the facility at around 11 a.m., with Black Press being one of the given the chance to tour.

The farm recently became a controversial site after footage was released earlier this week that allegedly showed the corpses of dead piglets among live animals at the location.

FACEBOOK LIVE FROM THE SCENE:

The groups arrived in school buses at the farm just before 6:30 a.m., with police responding shortly after 7 a.m.

Police then closed Harris Road at both ways connecting the farm, as police dealt with protesters inside who refused to leave.

Media on hand were told at approximately 8:30 a.m. that they would be allowed to tour the facility, but that then became a negotiation with police and veterinary staff on hand. The vet staff stated that the animals were stressed out and only a small number of media could enter.

Select media were allowed to tour the facility at around 11 a.m., with Black Press among those given the chance to tour.

Those inside the farm eventually left later that afternoon, with Kelowna resident Amy Sorrano charged with breaking and entering and mischief. Sorrano identifies herself as an “animal liberation activist” and has a Patreon page intended to promote her activism. Sorrano did not respond to a request for more information from The News.

The others inside were identified and then released by police. Abbotsford Police stated that they are continuing to investigate the incident, with possible additional charges to follow.

Farm owner Ray Binnendyk told media during the tour that it has been a difficult time for his family.

“As a family, this is very hard for us and what we’ve had to deal with in the last number of weeks,” he said. “We really pray that everyone sees the truth about us and that we are good people trying to make a good product and raise animals to the best of our ability.”

Binnendyk added that Sunday was an uncomfortable one for him and his family.

“We feel very invaded,” he said. “Our private property… people just act like it’s all right to walk onto someone’s property.”

He and his brother also expressed concern that protesters may have brought other disease or sickness onto the farm when they entered. That sentiment was echoed by the farm’s veterinarian, Josh Waddington.

“What I hope that the public realizes is that by their actions … this group of people have put the livestock at this farm at serious health risk,” he said.

Waddington said he believes some of the footage that was recorded and distributed was from a special-care section of the farm.

“In almost all production facilities, there is a hospital area where animals are gathered because they have conditions that we would like to see under treatment and observation and, in that case, that’s what was shown,” he said of the PETA video. “Some of those conditions are still here and present, and those animals are under treatment.”

Dan Moskaluk, who was acting as the spokesperson for Meat The Victims, said he and his group want to raise awareness about animal cruelty.

“We are here to stand in solidarity with the animals and the purpose of this action is to expose the realities of what is happening to the victims of the meat industry,” he said. “We believe that people are making choices that are contrary to their values. They would not want to support this industry if they truly knew what was happening.”

A press release from Meat The Victims reiterated many of Moskaluk’s points:

The aim of this action is to expose the reality of what is happening to the victims of the ‘meat’ industry and to challenge the current mindset within our society.

The truth is being hidden from the public and we believe that people are making choices that go against their values. Most people are against animal cruelty & would not want to support this industry if they knew what was truly happening. The public has a right to know.

These industries perpetuate the ‘humane myth’ with labels such as ‘local,’ ‘free range’, ‘grass fed’, ‘organic’, & ‘cage free’ – all terms which are used to deceive and mislead the public into believing that animals are ‘humanely raised & humanely killed.’ We are here to show that this is not the case. We are forcing transparency in an industry that relies on secrecy.

The needless violence inflicted upon these animals needs to stop. This facility is not unique in their horrendous treatment of animals. This is a standard representation of factory farming here in Canada. This action is not about this one facility, or a call for better animal welfare standards, but rather a call to end the inherently violent animal agriculture industry entirely.

Our message is simple: Animals are here with us, not for us.

It’s not clear when results of the SPCA investigation will be released.

Here’s a timeline of the events that transpired leading up to and on the day of the protest:

March 23 – A family member of the property in the 33000 block of Harris Road (Excelsior Hog Farms) notices two cameras inside a barn and one on the outside, and notifies police of their presence. It was later determined that camera had been filming since March 15.

April 23 – PETA releases a video allegedly from the farm depicting disturbing conditions.

April 28

6:25 a.m. – A group of 60 protesters exit a school bus outside the farm and illegally enter the property. A bus of other protesters line the road with signs and begin singing songs and chants.

6:45 a.m. – Abbotsford Police arrive on scene. Harris Road is blocked off from both sides connected to the farm shortly thereafter.

8:30 a.m. – Police continue negotiations with protesters inside. The protesters demand that media be allowed to tour and document what is inside.

10:45 a.m. – As negotiations continue, police state only six members of the media can go on the tour because veterinarians at the site are concerned about the health and stress of the animals. CTV is not allowed to enter as per the family’s request. CBC, Global, Canadian Press, Black Press and The Intercept (New York Times) are permitted access.

11:00 a.m. – The reporter from The Intercept is removed from the group going on the tour, as the family states they saw the reporter on the bus with the protesters. The reporter, who did travel as an embedded journalist with the protesters, is escorted back to the street. Police do not allow another reporter to replace her as a sixth member.

11:27 a.m. – Family members, neighbours, friends and other farmers gather in the front yard of the farm to support Excelsior. They write on a whiteboard sign that “We Love Our Farm,” with others signing their name on the whiteboard.

11:48 a.m. – Media complete the farm tour.

Approximately 12:30 p.m. – Protesters leave. One person is arrested

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Questions around rail safety, firefighter safety, cleanup near the rail yards and tracks, whistle cessation, etc were raised during the RDBN meeting with CN. (File photo)
‘Lot of our concerns are still not being heard,’ say RDBN directors on CN’s response

Frustrated over lack of solutions, despite communicating their concerns to CN

Barbara Patrick. (Submitted/Lakes District News)
Former Burns Lake local to play the first Indigenous character in a Hallmark movie

Barbara Patrick, a former LDSS student takes a huge step for the Indigenous community

The Burns Lake RCMP is supportive of having a ticketing bylaw in place even though there would be limitations on what they could ticket on. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
Burns Lake might be getting a ticketing bylaw

Will help extend RCMP’s authority to attend to noise complaints

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A man walks by a COVID-19 test pod at the Vancouver airport in this undated handout photo. A study has launched to investigate the safest and most efficient way to rapidly test for COVID-19 in people taking off from the Vancouver airport. The airport authority says the study that got underway Friday at WestJet’s domestic check-in area is the first of its kind in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Vancouver Airport Authority *MANDATORY CREDIT*
COVID-19 rapid test study launches at Vancouver airport for departing passengers

Airport authority says that a positive rapid test result does not constitute a medical diagnosis for COVID-19

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read