Abbotsford – On Friday April 30, The Crown dropped charges Friday against one of the animal rights activists who drew attention to Excelsior Hog Farm (Abbotsford) with alleged documented evidence of what activists describe as criminal animal cruelty. Geoff Regier’s indictable offences of Break and Enter and Criminal Mischief were dropped after lawyers argued ‘Abuse of Process’ by the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA).
Regier is one of the Excelsior 4, four activists accused of exposing animal cruelty at the Abbotsford hog farm in April 2019.
Now, in a June 23 media release from the activists, additional charges have been dropped before #TheExcelsior4 trial.
The Crown gave no explanation when it dropped some of the remaining charges yesterday against the three activists.
APRIL 2019 – Geoff Regier made contact with the BCSPCA in July 2019 with video footage of animal cruelty at Excelsior. A complaint was that BCSPCA violated their own confidentiality rules by turning the video over to Abbotsford Police.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2020 – Some 50 people gathered outside Abbotsford Provincial Court this morning in support of four activists facing multiple charges after exposing what an animal rights lawyer calls “criminal animal cruelty” at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford. About another 50 protested in front of the Abbotsford SCPA.
NOVEMBER 1, 2020 – Four animal rights activists—Amy Soranno, Jeff Rigear, Roy Sasano, and Nick Schafer—who are charged with Trespassing, Break and Enter and Mischief, while allegedly exposing animal cruelty at Excelsior Hog Farm in the spring of 2019 will make their second appearance at the Abbotsford Provincial Courthouse on Monday, November 2 at 9am. The defendants—known as the Excelsior 4—were arrested in August. The defendants are expected to plead not guilty on Monday, and there is the possibility of multi year prison terms if convicted.
Further to the media release:
In addition to demanding that the hog farm be held accountable, the Excelsior 4 and animal rights activists across the province are calling on BC Agriculture Minster Lana Popham to replace the private charity BCSPCA with a more accountable government agency to enforce against animal cruelty in BC. In the interest of transparency and accountability, activists are also demanding the installation of Closed-Circuit TV cameras at all animal agriculture facilities in BC.
“With no national regulations governing animal welfare on farms and virtually no government oversight on farms, one of the only ways abuse and mistreatment of farmed animals comes to light is through whistleblower and hidden camera exposés,” said Animal Justice in a recent statement. “Preventing journalists and animal advocates from exposing animal abuse restricts freedom of expression, one of the most important human rights in Canada.”
The trial starts at Abbotsford Provincial Court on Monday June 27.