Animals raised in factory farms never experience anything but fear and pain in their short lives. Seen as nothing more than commodities, these animals are subjected to horrific conditions, separated from their loved ones, and deprived of any semblance of comfort or kindness. As animal lovers, it can be extremely painful to know this fact, and it is not surprising that many who learn about the suffering animals face in factory farms feel inspired to help them in any way that they can.

For some, this might mean volunteering at an animal rescue or making different food choices, for Canadian Anita Krajnc, it meant offering a thirsty pig a drink of water through the grates of the transport vehicle it was locked in.

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Seems like a simple, harmless gesture, right?! Well … in the eyes of the Canadian government, it was anything BUT harmless and Anita is now facing criminal mischief charges for her actions.

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Can we get an “Ummmmm, HWHAT!?”

Yes. The incident, which happened this past June, was part of a protest executed by the Ontario group Toronto Pig Save, Krajnc is the co-founder of this organization, where Anita Krajnc and her companion stood on the median of a highway waiting for the truckload of pigs during a routine transport. The animals, which were being moved from the Van Buckel Hog Farm to the appropriately named Fearman’s Pork Slaughterhouse, were crammed into hot metal trucks with very little thought given to their well-being. When the truck stopped next to the median, Krajnc and her friend began to give water to the thirsty animals through the slots on the side of the truck. That’s when things got out of control.

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The Globe and Mail News reports that the truck’s driver, identified as Jeffrey Veldjesgraaf, got out of the truck and began arguing with the two women. The entire interaction was captured on the driver’s camera phone. Anita refused to stop giving the pigs water, despite the drivers proclamations that she might be giving them something harmful.  In the end, the driver got back in his truck and continued on the way to the slaughterhouse.

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In mid-September, a Halton Regional police officer served Krajnc with a summons. She was formally charged with criminal mischief in October.

“I think it’s an outrageous charge and goes against my deepest philosophical beliefs in terms of what all our obligations are, and to me the most important thing in life is to be of service to others and to someone or some animal who is suffering,” she said. “I will not admit guilt to what I did. It’s the right thing to do and we will continue to do it.”

Krajnc will soon go to trial for her actions, but seems undaunted, saying that she will continue to meet the routine truck and provide water for the pigs, if she is able. After all, this singular gesture is likely the first and last kindness that these poor, confused animals will ever know.

It seems absolutely ridiculous that such a harmless act of compassion can be considered criminal mischief when an entire system that is not only responsible for the suffering of millions of animals, but also mass water and air pollution, enormous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, and a whole host of other extremely – dare we say … criminal – damages to people and the environment is allowed to continue scot-free.

In the eyes of the law, the pigs headed to Fearman’s Pork Slaughterhouse were nothing but a commodity that needed to be kept alive until they were slaughtered and could turn a profit for their owners. However, in a situation as messed up as this one, where Antia was very clearly an activist who was merely giving water to thirsty animals, we have to ask if a little compassion can ever be wrong?

Image source: Jo-Anne MacArthur