Pork plant targeted by protesters
While some Burlington residents were anticipating Thanksgiving turkey dinner, animal rights protesters were condemning the slaughter of pigs at a local processing plant owned and operated by Fearmans Pork Inc.
Nearly 20 Toronto Pig Save supporters picketed last Saturday (Oct. 8) at Appleby Line and Harvester Road, beside the pork processing plant.
“We’re talking about how animals are inhumanely treated,” said Patti Blersch. “I live in Burlington and one of Ontario’s largest slaughterhouses is down the street.”
Blersch wore a pink pig costume while protesters also spread their message with signs, pamphlets, a megaphone and video-audio display.
While not specifying Fearmans’ operations, Blersch recalled a video of United Kingdom slaughterhouses.
“It shows the gross brutality,” said Blersch. “The animals suffer and feel fear.”
Fearmans Chief Executive Officer Patrick Sugrue declined to comment or answer questions about the protest when contacted by a reporter yesterday (Tuesday).
The Fearmans website says the company’s mission is to “feed the world delicious, safe and high-quality meat products.”
It states that farms supplying Fearmans are committed to quality and their standards include best practices of the Canadian Quality Assurance program.
Blersch said she and her husband have stopped attending Ribfest. (Fearmans was the title sponsor of Ribfest in 2011.)
Toronto Pig Save advocates moving to an organic, local, whole grain, plant-based (vegan) food economy — away from meat.
“In a world with so many alternatives to meat and dairy products, there’s just no need,” said Blersch.
More protests will be held in Burlington, said one of the animal rights group’s founders.
“We feel it’s very dramatic to be on site and bear witness,” said Anita Krajnc.
She claims 8,000-9,000 pigs are killed each working day at Fearmans.
“We don’t want to shut the plant down and have it moved somewhere else,” she said. “We don’t want jobs that involve killing enslaved animals.”
Krajnc said a whole grain, plant-based food economy will create jobs. She said the group protests three times weekly at another pig slaughterhouse, Quality Meat Packers in downtown Toronto.
Krajnc doesn’t blame workers at these processing plants.
“We get along with workers,” she said. “When we started, a few people were giving us the finger. Now people honk at us.”
Krajnc said leaflets are passed to motorists at stoplights during pickets in Toronto.
At Saturday morning’s protest in Burlington, some motorists reacted by honking horns.
One driver yelled “Get a job!” at the protesters.
Meanwhile, the nearby Fearmans parking lot was nearly empty, with only three or four vehicles.
Krajnc said she’s making a film in Burlington and Toronto that combines the protests, scenes of quiet streets and the slaughterhouses.