Activists trespassing on farms is not new: fur-farms were the “canary in the coal mine”
Farmers are up in arms about animal-rights activists forcing their way onto a dairy farm on March 9, against the protests of the dairy farmer. As they should be.
It feels like this incident might act as catalyst to motivate ALL livestock sectors to band together and form a common front against this type of behaviour – which, up until now, has been effectively tolerated by both industry and the authorities. The police and Crown Attorney’s office need to take this more seriously, and aggressively pursue investigations and prosecution of these perpetrators.
At the same time, the industry needs less talk and more action, pursue charges and launch whatever civil suits are necessary to protect farmers. No more “keeping a low profile” out of fear that activists are “just looking for more publicity”. The Courts are designed to address this type of wrong-doing, and it is time to put the system to work.
It might appear to some that these intrusions being inflicted upon livestock farms by activists is a new development, but it is not. This activity has been relatively commonplace for one particular sector for many years now – the fur sector.
Fur farmers have been suffering fear and indignity at the hands of animal rights activists for many years, and it has received little in terms of support or defence. That industry has, unsurprisingly, suffered, with activists repeatedly using video obtained through break-and-enter incidents to defame the industry.
Fur farming should be viewed by other livestock sectors as the canary in the coal mine.
It is not an exaggeration to describe the effects on farmers, who have suffered an attack on their farm and reputation, as a form of PTSD. A formerly happy and organized person can be turned into a nervous wreck.
Imagine 10-foot barbed wire fences, electronic gates and video surveillance around our dairy farms. Seem preposterous? Well, that is what is now minimally NECESSARY to keep activists out of fur farms in Ontario. Were you shocked by the live-stream video of activists flagrantly trespassing into the dairy barn? Well, I can direct you to dozens of similar videos on YouTube involving fur farms.
One of the reasons that fur farms have been targeted with practical immunity is the fact that they have received no or inadequate support from the authorities or the rest of agriculture. This has left the fur industry alone to defend itself against the multimillion-dollar might of multinational animal-rights organizations.
If there is any hope of a successful pushback against the efforts of radical animal-rights activists, it must involve a common front formed by ALL livestock groups. No more insular responses and a sigh of relief (albeit temporary) if an attack does not happen to involve my particular industry (until next time). Keep in mind that the radical-vegan-activists’ ultimate goal is not to harm any particular sector, but rather to harm livestock farming as a whole. The vegan-mantra abhors all animal products.
A “NATO” philosophy should be adopted. An attack on milk should be viewed as an equal attack on pork, chicken, eggs, and every other type of animal agriculture. And, yes, an attack on fur, or any other marginal industry, should be treated the same way – or your sector will be next Relatedly, when an activist-associated matter enters the court system (whether it be an activist facing charges for what it did to a farmer, or it be a farmer facing charges as a result of an activist’s so-called “investigation”),
I hope we see more cross-sector support to defend our farmers and prosecute the activists. The old adage remains true: if we don’t stand up for others, who will be left to stand up for us?