Farmers ask government for safety from 'aggressive' animal-rights activists


Louis Pin, The Observer (Canada)

September 4, 2019


Lambton County farmers are fed up with what they call aggressive animals rights activism, an issue plaguing mainly livestock farmers across Canada.


On Wednesday, it was Don McCabe, speaking for the Lambton Federation of Agriculture, who made a case for farmers worried about at-home trespassing, vandalism, and theft — crimes the organization says are being overlooked by Ontario’s court system. He cited a court case earlier this year in which charges were dropped against animal rights activist Jenny McQueen, who shared photos and videos from inside a Lucan-area farm.


“These people are coming together to protest because they consider any form of animal husbandry to be mistreatment,” McCabe said. “The reality is we’re seeing more and more of this.”


These concerns are nothing new, but the province is beginning to listen, Warwick Mayor Jackie Rombouts said. She cited a conversation she had with Progressive Conservative MPP Ernie Hardeman – the province’s agriculture minister –  at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference this summer.


“It was really important for me to put a face behind the (farm safety) resolution that we had passed, to really give him an idea of what was happening,” Rombouts said after the county council meeting Wednesday. “He was fantastic. He totally understands where we’re coming from.”


Farmers did not necessarily score a legal win at the Wyoming council meeting Wednesday, settling instead for the official support of county council. After the meeting, Sarnia Coun. Bill Dennis said he would share their safety concerns with city council as well.


“I know myself, as a livestock producer, I have concerns,” George Dickenson, a Lambton Federation of Agriculture member and longtime mental health advocate, said, “but I’m happy with their response. I’m happy Jackie brought the motion forward. I guess it’s (more about) the response that happens at the provincial level, the legal level.”


The concerns fall into two categories...