The trial of three activists charged in the invasion of Excelsior Hog Farm in April 2019 began in Abbotsford on June 27.
Amy Soranno, Nick Schafer and Roy Sasano are charged with a total of 14 counts of break and enter and mischief.
The initial stage of the trial is the Crown laying forth its evidence in support of the charges against the three activists, who stated in a video shot after the opening proceedings that they looked forward to arguing their case.
“These aren’t ‘Old Macdonald’ farms, these are industrial machines,” Soranno said.
The group opted for trial by jury specifically to have a platform to expose what they consider to be the inhumane treatment of the animals.
However, an investigation by the BC SPCA – the statutory agency charged with investigating animal welfare matters in the province – was unable to find any grounds for charges of animal cruelty against the farm’s owners.
The investigation resulted in the Crown ultimately staying charges against a fourth person involved in the farm invasion, Geoff Regier. Pre-trial arguments alleged misconduct on the part of the BC SPCA, which activists claim breached its confidentiality policy when it identified Regier to Abbotsford police as the source of undercover videos used in its investigation.
BC SPCA determined that the videos were obtained illegally. A month prior to the farm invasion, police attended a reported break-in at the farm, where unauthorized surveillance cameras were discovered.
The trial is scheduled to last four weeks, with closing arguments set for late July.