Anita Krajcn, a Canadian animal rights activist and founder of the organization Toronto Pig Save, is facing the possibility of serving up to a 10 year prison sentence.
Her crime? She gave water to thirsty pigs.
This June, Krajnc was peacefully protesting with a group from Toronto Pig Save on the side of a Burlington, Ontario road. Truckloads of pigs pass by there daily on their route to Fearman’s Pork slaughterhouse, an abattoir that processes nearly 10,000 animals a day.
It was a particularly hot afternoon; Ontario was in the midst of an early summer heat wave. As the truck slowed to a stop at a traffic light, Krajnc and her friend ran to the vehicle’s side to reach in through the slats and water the thirsty and overheating pigs.
The driver, Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf, got out of the truck and began yelling at the two women. “Don’t give him anything! Do NOT put water in there!”
Recalling the word’s of Jesus Christ, Krajnc replied, “If they are thirsty, give them water.”
Veldjesgraaf harshly fired back at her, “These are not humans, you dumb frickin’ broad!”
He then threatened to call the police. “You do it again, and I’ll slap [the water bottle] out of your hands,” Veldjesgraaf barked at her.
“Have some compassion!” Krajnc pleaded with the truck driver as she continued to drip water in for the pigs who foamed at the mouth and panted heavily, showing obvious signs of being effected by the heat.
Compassion was not shown by Veldjesgraaf, nor the farm’s owner, Eric Van Boekel. A complaint was filed with the police the following day. Krajnc is now being charged with criminal mischief for the interference with private “property” and faces the possibility of a hefty fine or imprisonment for her compassionate deed.
The indictment came as a shock to Krajnc, who was delivered her court summons by a Toronto police officer back in September. “I simply couldn’t believe it,” she says. “I was being charged for giving thirsty pigs water. How is it an offense to give thirsty pigs water?”
Krajcn caused no detriment or damage to Van Boekel Hog Farms and the processing facility. In the face of intimidation from large businesses and the law, she chose to be a good samaritan—to show compassion to an animal in need.
In light of her charge, Krajnc chooses to stand up for what she believes in. “I’m not going to perpetuate the idea of animal cruelty by admitting guilt to this. If they ask me to pay a fine, I will not pay. I would rather go to jail.”
A number of online petitions have emerged in Krajcn’s defense. Social media users have also started the hashtag #StandWithAnita to rally around Toronto Pig Save’s cause and to show support for Anita Krajcn and her actions.