Court Order: Undercover Investigations Can Resume in Ontario Farms & Slaughterhouses

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The Ontario Superior Court has issued an order regarding a recent decision that struck down much of the province’s ag gag law, which made it illegal to go undercover at a farm of slaughterhouses to document conditions and expose animal cruelty.

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Last month, Justice Markus Koehnen of the Superior Court ruled that multiple provisions under the regulation of the ag gag law violate the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Animal Justice challenged the Ontario government in court to defeat the troubling law, and uphold our right to conduct undercover exposés in the meat industry and advocate for animals who are suffering behind closed doors.

Initially, the ruling concluded that there would be a further hearing for Animal Justice and the government to make arguments about when the striking down of the law should come into effect. Further court appearances like this are common when the courts overturn a law.

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But the government has agreed that the law should be struck down immediately. Late on Thursday, May 2, the Court signed an order to that effect. Now, Animal Justice and other organizations and journalists are free to resume their important work exposing and reporting on hidden cruelty in the animal agriculture industry.

Also on Thursday, the government served notice that it plans to appeal the part of the court decision that overturned Ontario’s ag gag law. Animal Justice is committed to defending the ruling against an appeal, and will continue the fight to ensure investigative work at farms can continue.

Undercover Exposés Reveal Shocking Abuse

Numerous Canadian undercover exposés have revealed a shocking pattern of abuse and illegal cruelty in the animal agriculture industry—including animals suffering in deplorable conditions, enduring painful mutilations, brutal violence, and being slaughtered with botched methods. 

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Shocking secretly-recorded footage has also received widespread media attention, showing the public heartbreaking standard practices on farms, including locking mother pigs in tiny metal cages, tearing newborn calves from their mother cows, and confining hens in wire cages that are so tiny, that they can’t even spread their wings.

Just days before Ontario’s ag gag law took effect, Animal Justice released the last legal undercover exposé in the province, showing mother pigs being beaten, kicked, and slapped by workers, and piglets having their tails and testes sliced off without pain relief—which is illegal animal abuse. The investigation resulted in convictions against Paragon pig farm for castrating and cutting the tails off of piglets without pain relief, and for an illegal c-section performed on a live, conscious mother pig.

Help Stop Ag Gag Laws in Canada

Ag gag laws are of the most pressing modern threats to animals in this country. In recent years, ag gag laws have been passed in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, PEI, and there is a federal ag gag bill (Bill C-275) in the Senate.

Animal Justice lawyers have made it their mission to fight these unjust laws that conceal standard cruelty and illegal abuse. Please consider making a gift to support our ongoing fight and to help cover the hefty legal fees we face when we challenge ag gag laws in court.

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