So I got a ticket, peeps. This makes me a real, card-carrying activist!
I was bearing witness at Fearman’s Pork, in Burlington, ON with the group New Wave Activism, and The Ag Gag bill, Bill 156, was only halfway approved at the time. We were still figuring out what the new do’s and don’ts were, and we wanted to comply with the law while still exercising our Charter Right to gather peacefully and demonstrate. The cops advised us we could cross the streets only when the light indicated pedestrians could safely cross. No touching trucks, no touching pigs, no giving water to the pigs. So that’s what we were doing.
The police were in their usual spot, observing us and pretending to “protect” us whilst scrutinizing us for any minor infraction of the law, yet “not seeing” others commit these same minor infractions….but I digress…and we walked across all four crosswalks regularly with our signs. When a transport truck arrived loaded with pigs, we held up our signs and crossed, legally, wherever we were at the time so passing traffic could draw a correlation. Sometimes that was in the crosswalk in which the truck would be turning – but as we all know from the Highway Traffic Act, all vehicles must yield to the pedestrians’ right of way in a legal crosswalk.
No one stopped us. No one warned us. We had our instructions and felt within our rights to do what we were doing well within the parameters of the law.
And then a few weeks later, quite a few of us were approached and ticketed for an October 1 infraction of Bill 156 – “attempting to interfere with transport of livestock”….what the actual fuck??
To say were were gob-smacked is an understatement.
Apparently, according to the District Attorney’s department, security video taken at the scene showed us attempting to interfere with livestock transport by simply crossing legally in the crosswalk where the truck was slated to turn.
Again, what the actual fuck?
Somebody found the time to extract the video and take it to the DA to examine and determine if any laws were broken for which we could be charged. Who paid for that? Who pays for the no less than two and often four police officers who sit near where we peacefully protest twice a week for anywhere from two to four hours each time? And the all-consuming question: when did pedestrians’ right of way become moot?
And most importantly of all: WHY? Why do they care if we cross the crosswalk and occasionally slow a vehicle down? I can cross any street in this country, at my own personal speed, and cars are supposed to yield to me. It slows them down, sure, but I’m not interfering in their activities in any way, and they in turn, know I have this right.
But apparently, Fearmans’ Pork does not want people to have that right on the crosswalk in front of their property. Again, why? Why does it matter to them if a livestock truck takes three minutes to reach the parking spot where they have yet another hour to wait for off-loading? What’s the rush, guys? And what are they trying to hide? Why don’t they want us to be able to see into the trucks? The trucks have holes in them so the pigs get fresh air (breathing in their own feces, vomit, and exhaust is as fresh as they are going to get at this point), and as a result. we can see in the trucks to take a picture of the conditions, but for some reason we are not allowed to do that anymore. That is now in direct violation of Bill 156, the Ag Gag bill. Whatever is going on in those trucks is a SECRET. You, the consumers, are not allowed to see where your food comes from and what happens to it anymore. YOU have to now simply believe the propaganda when the commercials say “organic, grain fed” “pasture raised” “non GMO” “no hormones” “happy, laughing” etc. You have to believe it, because Big Agriculture says so.
And you, by your silence while Bill 156 was pending, gave them permission to do this to you. Thanks to Sam for documenting this travesty and allowing me to post the video.