Kelowna activist was preemptively arrested before protest planned in Ontario | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna activist was preemptively arrested before protest planned in Ontario

Meat the Victims activists standing off against police at a farm.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Agnes Cseke

A Kelowna animal rights activist was preemptively arrested before she could attend a protest in Ontario.

Amy Soranno is a prominent member of Meat the Victims, whose members are “willing to disobey unjust laws together to abolish animal exploitation,” according to its Facebook page.

On Oct. 3, she was planning on attending a demonstration at a turkey breeding farm in Kitchener, Ontario, and said hundreds of other protesters were as well. But as soon as she stepped outside of her accommodation around 3 a.m., police were waiting for her, and she was arrested along with five other activists.

“(We) were apprehended by Waterloo Regional Police in a dramatic and unexpected confrontation, with some being dragged from their cars and slammed on the ground, despite none of us resisting arrest,” Soranno said in an email.

“For some, the police never identified themselves, nor did they ask for our names. We were all charged... and were taken into custody.”

Waterloo Regional Police said investigators had information that the six people arrested were planning to break the law at that protest.

They were all charged with attempted break and enter and attempted mischief.

READ MORE: Animal rights activists arrested after shutting down Kelowna Interior Savings branch

When Soranno was asked if there were there any plans to break any laws at the turkey farm protest, she refused to say.

“The intention with Meat the Victims actions are to have a group of activists, in full biosecurity gear, walk into an animal agriculture facility, and film; bringing visibility to animals (that) are otherwise hidden,” she said.

“There are no laws for on-farm animal welfare, and no government inspectors to proactively monitor farm conditions."

Soranno said in 2014, a different animal rights group managed to capture footage from inside Hybrid Turkeys. The video captured turkeys being beaten and suffering, and led to a $5,600 penalty for the company in 2015.

“The public must not be prevented from witnessing this abuse when it occurs, and farm employees and concerned citizens must be allowed to film and expose unethical and criminal abuse of animals.”

She said the charges do not specify which building or property they were planning to break into, however one condition of release was to stay away from the Hybrid Turkeys breeding farm in Ayr, Ontario.

“I suppose that is the facility they assumed we would have entered. However, there were groupings of police scattered throughout Southern Ontario that morning, at various turkey facilities, not just at Hybrid. When they arrested us that morning, I don’t believe the police had a specific building or property in mind.”

The protest at the turkey farm still took place that day, albeit without security breaches.

“I imagine the police figured that if the six arrested activists were taken out of the mix that day, that the whole event would (be foiled). They were wrong,” Soranno said. “All we did was walk out the doors of our accommodations before being ambushed and arrested. This should be alarming to anyone who values their rights as Canadians.”

The Waterloo police said in a press release that several people were arrested in connection to the Oct. 3 protest, but clarified that the arrests were not in relation to the activities at the demonstration, and the crowd was peaceful.

Soranno and the other five are scheduled to appear in court on Nov. 17. She may have to travel to Ontario if the trial goes ahead but since COVID is still an issue, she is currently attending hearings over Zoom.

READ MORE: Animal activists target Kelowna turkey farm

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