Anita Krajnc pig trial won't be decided until at least March

The case of a woman who gave water to pigs outside a slaughterhouse will drag on for a few more months.
Anita Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief when she pushed a water bottle into a truck-load of pigs on their way to slaughter. (CBC)

It'll be at least March before the Anita Krajnc pig trial is resolved – a year and a half after the animal rights activist was charged with mischief for giving water to pigs en route to slaughter.

The Burlington trial went on for six days of testimony this fall, ending on Thursday. Now it'll be March 9 before the two sides make their final arguments. And even longer before Justice David Harris renders his verdict.

It's a long ordeal for a simple mischief trial, one in which Krajnc, co-founder of Toronto Pig Save, faces a maximum $5,000 fine and jail time for giving water to pigs last June.

Krajnc and others approached the metal trailer filled with pigs from Eric Van Boekel's Oxford County hog farm. As they often do, they poured water from plastic water bottles into the mouths of the pigs inside. A video shows the pigs are crowded and panting.

Halton Police charged Krajnc with mischief, saying no one knew if the liquid she poured into their mouths was water. Farm advocacy groups say Krajnc tampered with the farmer's product, thus is guilty of mischief.

Krajnc has pled not guilty, saying that even though she did give water to pigs, her actions were for the public good. Her lawyers, James Silver and Gary Grill, are also arguing that police watched the activists give water to pigs for months without interfering, thus giving implied consent.

Tony Weis, a Western University assistant professor of geography, was the final defence witness Thursday. Weis said human meat consumption has nearly doubled in the last 50 years — and climbing.

In 1960, Weis said, the average person ate 23 kilograms of meat per year in a world of three billion people.

Today, Weis said, the average person eats 43 kilograms of meat, and the human population has more than doubled. Weis called this the "meatification" of society.

Toronto Pig Save volunteers give water to pigs heading to slaughter in Burlington. One of them, Anita Krajnc, now faces criminal mischief charges. (Anita Krajnc/Facebook)

Mounting scientific evidence shows this has an impact on climate change, Weis said. Livestock feed and grazing is one of the biggest uses of land and resources, he said.

The case also involves a virtual reality video of a slaughterhouse that Silver and Grill have introduced as evidence. The immersive video reflects Krajnc's state of mind when she gave the pigs water, Grill says. Harris will decide whether to watch the video in his chambers.

Farm groups, meanwhile, say all this evidence is irrelevant.

"It's essentially a misdemeanour case about product tampering," said Bruce Kelly of Farm and Food Care this month.

"It's mischief," Henry Swierenga, an Ontario Federation of Agriculture representative for Halton, Hamilton-Wentworth and Niagara. "It's a mischief charge. That's why we're here. To stand up for the farmer" and stand against "the actions perpetrated on his vehicle."

Assistant Crown attorney Harutuyn Apel, and Krajnc lawyers James Silver and Gary Grill, will each spend an hour and a half on closing arguments on March 9.

Then Harris will deliberate and render a verdict.

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC