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

A man was issued a $230 fine after refusing to wear a mask inside a Central Saanich business. (Central Saanich Police Services/Twitter)
Man issued fine after refusing to mask up in Central Saanich business

$230 ticket issued under the COVID-19 Related Measures Act

Aragon Properties’ proposed development for the corner of Cook and Pendergast streets in Cook Street Village was voted down by Victoria city council on Thursday night after a public hearing. (File contributed/ City of Victoria)
Lack of affordable housing spells end for Cook Street Village project in Victoria

Council narrowly defeats proposal for four-storey building on former Pic-A-Flic Video site

A report by investigator Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond found “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in a report released Monday.
Peninsula hospital one where ‘significant work underway’

Investigation finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’ in provincial health care

Victoria police issued tickets to two Victoria party hosts Saturday night, according to VicPD Chief Del Manak. (Unsplash)
Victoria partiers hid in closets, bedrooms in an attempt to avoid fines

Police gave out COVID-19 tickets to two separate parties

(Courtesy of West Shore RCMP)
Second driver facing impaired charges after View Royal traffic stop leads to loaded firearms

West Shore RCMP stop swerving motorist and Saanich woman who came to pick her up

A B.C. Ambulance Service paramedic wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 moves a stretcher outside an ambulance at Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, November 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest weekend of COVID-19 pandemic with 46 deaths; more than 2,300 cases

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides COVID-19 update

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

Christy Jordan-Fenton is the co-author of the book Fatty Legs, which has been mentioned amid the controversy of an Abbotsford school assignment on residential schools.
Fatty Legs co-author responds to Abbotsford class assignment on residential schools

Children’s book mentioned amid controversy at W. A. Fraser Middle School

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick (right) moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals pick critics to take on Horgan’s NDP majority

Interim leader Shirley Bond takes seniors, long-term care

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland listens to a question from a reporter on the phone during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Spending too little worse than spending too much, Freeland says as Canada’s deficit tops $381B

‘The risk of providing too little support now outweighs that of providing too much’

Left to right: A screenshot of NTC nurse navigator Lesley Cerney, FNHA regional mental health manager Georjeana Paterson and Island Health’s medical health officer Dr. Charmaine Enns addressing Ehattesaht community members from Ehatis reserve in a Facebook live update. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Medical team sent to Ehatis reserve near Zeballos to guide community through COVID outbreak

17 cases, eight recoveries and no hospitalizations as Island Health praises First Nation’s response

Still from a video surveillance camera of a man alleged to have stolen from several people at knife-point in Chilliwack (Rosedale) early on Nov. 28, 2020. (Facebook)
B.C. man defends his family against intruder, saves neighbour while wielding hockey stick

RCMP looking for footage that captures violent crime spree in Chilliwack

Harbour seals rest on log booms at Flavelle Mill in Port Hardy. With recent announcements the mill will be getting rid of the log booms, Dr. David Rosen sees an opportunity to study how the disappearance of this highly-frequented refuge for the seals will alter their behaviour in Burrard Inlet. (Photo supplied by David Rosen)
What the heck is going on with marine mamals in Vancouver waterways?

UBC researcher asks why they’re returning, and what role we’re playing

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009. (RCMP photo)
Human remains found off U.S. coast in 2009 identified as Penticton man

Jim Neufeld, 55, was last seen leaving his home in Penticton Jan. 21, 2009

Most Read