A poultry grower in Kelowna is the latest target of one of the four activists charged in the invasion of an Abbotsford hog farm last year.
Amy Soranno led a protest on Thanksgiving weekend against Patton Farms Inc. in Kelowna, which is building a barn and provincially inspected Class B slaughter facility set to come onstream in the near future.
The activism follows Soranno’s court appearance on September 3 in relation to last year’s occupation of Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford. She and three others are charged with several counts of break and enter and mischief. The next court appearance for the four is set for November 2, but Soranno is free to organize and lead protests in the meantime.
Thanksgiving Sunday saw Soranno and more than two dozen people line up outside the Patton farm in Kelowna’s Ellison neighbourhood holding signs accusing turkey farms of environmental degradation. The protest marked the start of a campaign that aims to “Shutdown Patton.”
The family has been active in the poultry and development industries for many years. The farm’s co-owner Carol Patton told media that the protest seemed like a personal attack on a local business that’s helping feed local families.
Both law enforcement and industry members say that the failure of the courts to send a strong message to activists that persist in harassing farm owners merely emboldens them.
Many livestock farmers had hoped that last November’s explicit reference to livestock operations in provincial trespass legislation would strengthen their legal position. However, livestock operations continue to be the targets of demonstrators. The BC Liberals have promised to introduce a Trespass Act that “significantly protects the properties and livelihoods of farmers” if elected on October 24.