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Israeli police response to animal rights a stark contrast to that of B.C. police: Kelowna activist

Amy Soranno was convicted of break and enter after a hog farm protest with Meat the Victims

A Kelowna-based animal activist who was found guilty of break-and-enter after being arrested at a hog farm protest in Abbotsford was granted permission to fly to Israel, where she participated in another animal-rights protest.

The electric blue-haired Amy Soranno is currently appealing her 30-day sentence for break-and-enter, and has been granted bail in the interim. She was also granted special permission to fly to Israel for one month, where she attended seminars, training and a protest.

While in Israel in December, Soranno participated in a protest at a chicken hatchery that practices a violent, but widely used and legal technique to destroy unfit chicks.

On Christmas Day, approximately 100 activists with Meat the Victims Israel broke into and occupied a hatchery in Gan HaShomron at approximately 6 a.m. She did not personally enter the hatchery.

Soranno livestreamed the break-in, showing activists using ladders to climb over the fence surrounding the hatchery and stealing chicks on the Meat the Victims Instagram page.

Soranno said that some members of the group quickly grabbed approximately 20 chicks and passed them over the fence where they were “rushed to safety.” She said that another group of protesters entered the building and staged a sit-in, some gluing themselves to the machine used to kill unfit chicks, called the macerator. The remaining activists stood outside the hatchery to protest and draw attention.

The protest successfully temporarily halted the scheduled killing of day-old baby chicks, who are too small or weak to be grown for meat, said Soranno.

She explained that at hatcheries, the chicks that do not meet production standards are killed almost immediately by being dropped into a macerator while still alive. The practice is not unique to this hatchery, and is legally done around the world.

READ MORE: Amidst Abbotsford trial for animal advocates, BC SPCA calls for cameras in slaughterhouses

Despite being legal, Meat the Victims and Soranno believe that the “routine suffering and violence” that takes place in animal agriculture is unjust, and work to expose the general population to the inner-workings of livestock operations despite the legal implications that may result.

“We believe in conducting civil disobedience to shed light on this topic and to push for legal change.”

While Soranno does have a criminal record for breaking into a hog farm for a protest, she said that she feels a deep sense of responsibility to keep fighting for animals.

She said that she has begun exploring options for non-violent activism internationally because of the “aggressive nature of Canada’s legal and political reaction to animal activists.”

Yet in Isreal, Soranno said only two police officers responded to the hatchery protest and worked to facilitate productive negotiations between Meat the Victims and the hatchery employees. The discussion resulted in the hatchery releasing 35 chicks that had been scheduled to be killed, and no arrests were made.

She said that Israeli law enforcement’s ability to not escalate a non-violent protest is a stark contrast to the Abbotsford police’s response at the Excelsior Hog Farm Protest of 2019, where all available officers were called to the Abbotsford farm and Soranno and more than 50 other activists were arrested. She said that she has also been arrested for planning to attend a protest before it even began.

Meat the Victims left the facility with 55 chicks that were scheduled to be macerated. The chicks will be raised at a sanctuary for the remainder of their natural lives.

“It’s becoming clear that Canadians are being stripped of our legal right to protest, especially if the protest is directed at animal agriculture.”

Soranno said that the Canadian government and legal systems are working to prevent activists from taking direct, non-violent, peaceful action for animals compared to the policies in place in other countries.


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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