More than 100 pigs survived a truck crash in the Toronto area only to be marched to the slaughterhouse on foot shortly afterward in an incident that resulted in an animal activist already in trouble with the law charged once again by police.
Anita Krajnc, currently on trial for giving cool water to hot pigs en route to the same slaughterhouse last year in Burlington, Ont., said she has been charged with obstructing a peace officer and breach of recognizance. She's already on trial for criminal mischief.
"It's very difficult for me to see these victims walk free on the sidewalks and then rounded up and sent to the gas chambers," Krajnc said just after being released from the police station Wednesday afternoon.
Dozens of activists descended on the scene alongside Krajnc to "bear witness," which led to a tense standoff with police who tried to keep the protesters at bay behind police tape.
The truck crashed as it was turning onto a road beside Fearmans Pork plant in Burlington, west of Toronto, around 7:30 a.m., which led to several pigs escaping and roaming nearby streets, according to Halton regional police.
Police said there were approximately 180 pigs in the vehicle and most of them remained pinned inside as workers from the plant slowly removed them from the toppled truck and walked them to the plant.
They said an estimated 40 pigs died in the crash.
The truck driver — a 25-year-old man from Brunner, Ont. — suffered minor injuries and was released after being treated in hospital.
Speed may have been a factor in the single-vehicle crash, Staff Sgt. Peter Corner said, but the investigation is ongoing and he said no charges have been laid.
Krajnc said she became upset after workers from the plant came out to help corral the pigs and walk them to the slaughterhouse — and hid the animals from view by holding up large cardboard placards.
"So I crossed the line to take photographs and was dragged back twice," she said.
Videos posted to social media show police dragging Krajnc back to the police tape.
"I was fine, I just went limp — it's an old civil disobedience tactic," said Krajnc, who runs the animal welfare group Toronto Pig Save.
Her friend, Jenny McQueen, said police were heavy-handed.
"They used a ton of force," McQueen said.
"We tried to get through the police tape and the police grabbed all of us. Then they drag her out and she tries to get in again to document the pigs, they drag her out again, then they arrest her."
A video McQueen took and posted online shows Krajnc being dragged back to the police line by officers, handcuffed and then put into a squad car.
The video shows officers pushing and shoving protesters who screamed back. Pigs can be heard squealing in the background.
"The pigs are injured, they are screaming, they are frightened, they should be taken to sanctuary," McQueen said. "It's devastating for us to see this."
Krajnc posted a video on Facebook that showed her in the back of the squad car.
"I'm currently speaking to you from a cab in a police car and the pigs are being herded off to the kill floor," she said. "They should be shown mercy and not being herded to the gas chambers."
Krajnc was in court on Monday. She has pleaded not guilty to the mischief charge in the June 2015 incident, when she poured water through the port holes of a truck carrying the pigs to the same slaughterhouse involved in Wednesday's crash.
She told court that feeding bacon to children is tantamount to child abuse, comparing the popular breakfast staple to cigarettes.
Fearmans or its owner, Sofina, could not be reached for comment.