Animal rights activists vow to find ways to protect animals from entering slaughterhouses despite the introduction of a new provincial bill which puts big fines in place for stopping truckers transporting livestock.
Bill 156 takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and includes increased fines for violators - up to $15,000 for a first offence.
Rob McNeil of Animal Save London spoke out against the change as his group stopped live chicken transports outside the Cargill poultry production facility on Cuddy Drive in London.
“It’s a new playing field. We will still be seeking to bear witness to trucks. We will have to come up with some new strategies and plans, but our desire to bring attention to this industry and the horrors it brings to the animals, human health and the environment doesn’t change."
Bill 156 comes at a time of increasing pressure on all sides of the animal food production debate.
Activists are angered at its passage, as they continue to mourn Regan Russell. The 65-year-old woman was killed outside a Burlington, Ont. pork processing facility on June 19. The driver of the transport was charged with careless driving causing death.
That driver, an employee of by Brussels Transport in Huron County, received threats following the incident, says Tyler Jutzi, who runs the trucking firm.
On Tuesday, Jutzi welcomed the new bill as a positive first step towards better safety.
“For years the verbal and physical harassment the drivers have taken has been unbearable. It’s a huge sigh of relief to them."
Meanwhile, back in front of the Cargill facility, as London police looked on, a long-time participant in protests at the site conceded the bill will have a impact on him.
Rob Corbeth was seen speaking words directly to the chickens in a stopped truck before they were taken into the Cargill plant.
Corbeth knows that as of Wednesday, such action might result in a significant fine.
“The fine is not appealing to me that’s for sure. But I think it is important we do bear witness.'
McNeil concurs, but wonders if fines will be enforced, “We look forward to seeing whether the court system really wants to get clogged up with these kind of charges."
Jutzi is also watching to see how enforcement will change.
He notes stopping trucks has always been illegal, but hopes the higher fines provide a new tool for enforcement.
“I don’t think you’re going to see every truck unstopped, but I think you’re going to see better enforcement."
In addition to making it illegal to obstruct trucks, the Security from Trespass and Animal Safety Act increase fines for people who trespass on farms.