Kelowna animal rights activist faces new criminal charges after preemptive arrest prior to protest in Ontario

Kelowna activist arrested

A Kelowna-based animal right activist has caught another criminal case, this time in Ontario, for her planned involvement in a demonstration at a turkey farm.

Amy Soranno was one of six people arrested Sunday at around 3 a.m. as they departed their homes in advance of an action at the Hybrid Turkeys breeding farm in southern Ontario.

Soranno, along with Nick Schafer, Jen Deighan-Schenk, David Magina, Bridget Armastus, and Kirsten Little were charged with “attempted break and enter” and “attempted mischief” and have since been released on bail.

Despite the preventive arrests, a protest took place Sunday morning outside Hybrid Turkeys to bring attention to factory farming practices. The Waterloo Regional Police vaguely announced earlier this week they had arrested six people in connection to the protest.

“The arrests were not in relation to the activities at the demonstration location, and the crowd was observed to be peaceful,” police said.

Soranno is already set to go to trial next year along with three other activists for occupying a hog farm in Abbotsford in 2019. She is known in the Okanagan for leading protests against Ribfest and local factory farms, attracting headlines with stunts like chaining herself to the front of a credit union that sponsored Ribfest.

Ontario animal rights activists are demanding the province repeal its agricultural gag law, which criminalizes undercover operations at factory farms.

"Ag gag laws and questionable police tactics will not prevent activists from exposing the sickening cruelty that farmed animals face," said Soranno in a news release. "No legal repercussions could ever compare to what farmed animals endure. The mutilations, confinement and abuse that farmed turkeys endure is horrific, and even the standard industry practices are undeniably cruel—like genetically modifying these birds to grow so fast they become crippled under their own weight, and living their entire lives inside crowded barns with toxic air."

Activists have targeted Hybrid Turkeys, the nation's largest turkey breeder, to bring attention to previous animal cruelty cases against the company.

“It’s just disgusting that we have a system in place that is criminalizing non-violent peaceful people who are literally trying to cause less suffering in the world,” Soranno told Penticton-based retired RCMP officer Dan Moskaluk in a livestreamed interview outside the Waterloo police detachment immediately after being released from custody on Oct. 3.

The activists are pushing back against the spread of "ag gag" laws to other provinces in Canada.

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