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Animal activist gives water to thirsty pigs, gets charged with mischief

An animal rights activist will appear in court Wednesday to face charges related to giving pigs water in a sweltering truck while they were on their way to a slaughterhouse in Burlington.
Anita Krajnc gives pigs water near a slaughterhouse in Burlington. Krajnc now faces a criminal mischief charge from the activity. (Elli Garlin)

An animal rights activist will appear in court Wednesday to face charges related to giving pigs water in a sweltering truck while they were on their way to a slaughterhouse in Burlington.

Anita Krajnc of Toronto will answer to criminal mischief charges in Milton court at 9 a.m. Krajnc is part of the group Toronto Pig Save, which she says poured water through the holes of a metal trailer on a hot June day for the pigs inside.

Animal rights activists have aligned behind Kranjc, and will hold a vigil at the courthouse on Wednesday. Their social media efforts include the hashtag #StandWithAnita and the phrase "Compassion is not a crime."

Krajnc said her group stands on a traffic island at Appleby Line and Harvester Road once a week to "bear witness" to the animals going to slaughter at Fearman's Pork Inc.

In legal circles, people are scratching their heads.- Gary Grill, lawyer

On June 22, she said, temperatures were high, and her group poured water through the holes. In court documents, Halton police refer to it as an "unknown liquid."

Krajnc said the driver got out and told them to stop, and she quoted a Bible verse at him about giving water to the thirsty.

"He said, 'They're not humans, you dumb frigging broad,'" she told CBC News on Tuesday.

The pork farmer who owned the pigs, Eric Van Boekel of Oxford County, contacted police the next day, court documents say. Police investigated and pursued the mischief charge. Punishment for the charge ranges from a fine to up to 10 years in prison.

Gary Grill, Kranjc's Toronto-based lawyer, said the charge is puzzling. "In legal circles, people are scratching their heads."

"Taxpayers are paying for this."

The court is expected to set a pretrial date Wednesday, with a trial to follow. Grill said the question isn't how he and co-counsel James Silver will defend the case, but how the Crown will prove that what Kranjc did was criminal mischief.

Kranjc, 48, said if she is fined, she will refuse to pay. And she and other activists will be in Burlington again on Thursday.

"It's better to try to help than to look the other way," she said.

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