At least 14 protesters were arrested Monday during a demonstration outside a federal prison farm in Kingston.
Some 150 protesters gathered early to rally against the transfer of up to 300 cows from the farm at Frontenac Institution. The cattle are to be sold at auction in Waterloo, Ont., on Tuesday, demonstrators say.
"There's a lot of tears here, there's a lot of disgust. I'm personally very, very sad but I'm very proud of our community for fighting this fight and drawing attention to this decision by the government to get rid of one of their best rehabilitation programs," said Dianne Dowling, president of the local National Farmers Union chapter who is part of the Save Our Prison Farms campaign.
The first truck containing several cows drove off the prison grounds around 8 a.m. EDT, Ms. Dowling said. The other six left by 2 p.m. EDT.
She said police arrested as many as 19 protesters, including fellow organizer Andrew McCann. However, Kingston Police Constable Michael Menor said approximately 14 people had been arrested. He said most were charged with mischief for allegedly blocking the roadway.
"For the most part, it was relatively uneventful," Constable Menor said.
One man who was arrested had brought along Stormy the donkey, which wore a sign saying "Prison farm consultant," Ms. Dowling said. After its owner was taken away, officers took the animal behind police lines, where it was spotted snacking on grass. Ms. Dowling said she expected the man's wife would take Stormy home.
"We had him tied up. There were two very, very nice police officers watching him, making sure he was okay. Actually, you could pet him just like a house cat, it's just hilarious. A very friendly donkey, which is nice," Const. Menor said.
Demonstrators chanted and sang as some motorists honked their support. Several used Twitter to provide blow-by-blow accounts of the demonstration.
Some protesters later staged a protest outside Kingston Police headquarters. Others planned to attend bail hearings for eight people who were arrested on Sunday during a demonstration outside the minimum-security prison.
Frontenac farm is one of six prison farms slated to be closed in Canada.
Following a 2008 strategic review, the federal government decided the farms in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick were no longer useful.
Supporters, including author Margaret Atwood, argue the government is ignoring the rehabilitative and healing effects that farming offers low-risk inmates.