Though they experienced some fleeting moments of freedom, there was no stay of execution for the pigs involved in a truck crash outside Fearmans Pork Plant in Burlington yesterday.
The animals were in a truck that rolled over Wednesday morning, which snarled traffic near the corner of Appleby Line and Harvester Road. The scene drew the ire of protesters from Toronto Pig Save, who were demonstrating there for much of the day as the pigs squealed.
One woman, Anita Krajnc, was arrested at the scene and charged with obstructing police and a breach of recognizance — stemming from a previous charge she's facing for giving water to pigs on a truck heading into the very same plant.
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Mary Jane Quinn, the manager of communications for Ontario Pork, told CBC News that workers at the plant "worked immediately to save as many hogs as possible" after the crash.
But their safety was extremely short lived, as workers walked the surviving pigs through the plant's parking lot, which was right next to where the crash happened.
It was akin to a hog version of the last mile, as the animals that had made it through the wreck just trotted from the crash to the slaughterhouse.
There were about 180 pigs on the truck, Quinn said, and of those, 138 were unharmed and sent to the plant for "processing."
"The remainder were either killed in the accident or were seriously compromised," she said. "Unfortunately, the pigs that died could not be processed as per [Canadian Food Inspection Agency] guidelines.
"The hogs that survived were examined by CFIA and approved for processing at the plant."
Many of the protesters at the scene denounced what was going on, yelling at workers who were holding up pieces of cardboard around the wreck in an attempt to block views of what had happened.
"Please have some mercy, let the pigs go," pleaded one woman.
"What if this was your dog?" said another. Dead and injured pigs could be seen being carted from the scene of the crash in the bucket of a Bobcat tractor, draped in a tarp.
The situation drew national attention, largely due to the involvement of Krajnc, who is a part of Toronto Pig Save.
She faces jail time or a maximum $5,000 fine on a mischief charge stemming from an arrest last year, after she gave pigs water through the narrow openings of a metal trailer as they were headed to the same plant on June 22, 2015.
Krajnc testified in her own defence on that charge Monday, saying that pigs are "more noble" than people. She was not being held in custody on the previous charge. Her next court date is in November.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) President Ingrid Newkirk weighed in on the issue Thursday afternoon, calling for a one-and-a-half metre tombstone memorial at the scene.
PETA says it sent a letter to Burlington's director of transportation asking for approval to erect the tombstone near the pork plant.
Burlington officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.