Four young, ambitious people who had made it their task not only not to ignore the suffering that is being done to our non-human fellow creatures everywhere at any time, but also to document it and bring it to the public. What they revealed was as frightening as it was sobering. The crime scene was the Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford BC, Canada, but it could have been any other pigsty in the so-called livestock industry, which Canada is generally considered to be quite advanced. What these recordings showed was not only that these animals were tortured in crates when they had young and then further on fully slatted floors, with the well-known injuries, cuts and growths. We’ve almost gotten used to that in Austria, after more than three years of campaign work by the VGT against fully slatted floors. In addition, animals that could not even walk were seen unable to get up, so they slowly died while the still alive, mobile conspecifics ate up the already dead ones that were simply left lying between them. They rotted in the stable. Some were thrown in the trash cans. All this is nothing new for those who have already dealt with the matter. Still, it gets worse.
Not only that these wonderful, curious, fun-loving creatures are forced to spend their six months of life on a hard, sharp-edged concrete floor, without ever seeing the sun, the meadow or even a blade of grass, ever being able to really use their legs and to live a bit of life, not even the smallest bit, they are badly mistreated on top of that. Sick, wasting creatures are beaten and electrocuted. As if their torments weren’t enough, as if their suffering wasn’t bad enough, they are also being chastised, beaten, maltreated, injured, without rhyme or reason, by the people to whom they are entrusted. Entrusted life that knows nothing but stench, narrowness, boredom and pain. And at the entrance to Excelsior Hog Farm is an idyllic image of a child holding a piglet with a vast meadow beyond. Scene from a fairy tale. Just as alien to life for these animals and their actual living conditions, while pure horror reigns a few meters away. All of this happened and is happening behind closed barn doors. It should stay that way until these activists came up with the idea of looking at the conditions in this stable.
Four activists who wanted to clarify the fact that in our midst these creatures are suffering immensely, which in its dimensions can already be viewed as criminal cruelty to animals. It is important that the public is informed about such abuses. Of course, you can’t just go up to the operators of the animal welfare facility and ask: „May we have a look at their barn, document the abuses and put-up cameras?“ Yes, you can, but that would at most result in the activists expelled from the site and security measures increased. If you go directly to the authorities, you will at most be fobbed off with the fact that they are being checked anyway and they don’t need to get involved at all. „Or do you have evidence for your claims?“, no, of course not, at that stage one heard rumors, a bad feeling, probably also real stories from people who know these torture companies from their own eyes, but no, one has evidence no. That’s why the authorities can’t act, because anyone could come and claim something. It should be noted that the police in Austria must investigate every report, even if it is a mere suspicion, unless it is about animal rights. The ads go straight to the large round table. And without solid evidence, nothing works anyway. But how are you supposed to provide evidence without becoming a criminal? Not at all.
As a citizen you have two options at this point, either you forget it again and hope that the company will be checked at some point in the near, probably more distant future, which ultimately doesn’t really make sense, because these controls are announced, early enough that the operators of the animal prisons have enough time to clean up and fix the worst grievances. Apart from the fact that this is just a snapshot, because no animal exploiter will abuse the animals in the presence of an inspector. The second possibility is to illegally obtain evidence. That is exactly what the four activists did. Yes, they broke into the stable because they had no choice but to help the animals. Without these activists, they would have remained completely alone, isolated from the rest of the world, they and many more generations who are and will be exposed to the arbitrariness and sadism of the operators. But can one really take responsibility for being able to live in freedom oneself, while knowing that next door others are being robbed of everything that makes up life? Well, unfortunately one has to say that most of them can. „It won’t be that bad,“ they say, or: „I have problems of my own, I can’t take care of pigs anymore.“ Luckily, not everyone says that. Some cave in because they have no choice but to expose the wrong. This is exactly what happened, of course in the hope that the abuses would then be eliminated. What then actually happened can hardly be surpassed in terms of perfidiousness – but it is also commonplace all over the world.
It was not the animal exploiters and torturers who were held accountable, but the activists who uncovered these horrific prison conditions. All four were dragged before the court, two convicted. The extent of the sentence has not yet been determined at this time, but these offenses are punishable by up to ten years imprisonment.
In summary, it can be said that anyone who uncovers injustice will be punished. Whoever commits the wrong may go on with it happily.
If you don’t want activism to be criminalized, support these great people in Canada. More at www.excelsior4.org. And anyone who now says that Canada is far away, that something like this doesn’t happen in Austria anyway, should be told, on the one hand, that technical achievements mean that nothing is far away. Solidarity is all-encompassing. And on the other hand, something like this also happened in Austria, with the so-called animal protection process, in which activists were also arrested and threatened with long prison sentences, even though they had not even committed a crime. It is therefore important to support these people, who do not shy away from the dangers, so that animal suffering finally comes to an end.