“The Excelsior 4” appeared in Abbotsford provincial court on Monday morning (Nov. 2) to plead not guilty to a combined total of 21 charges. (Submitted photo)

“The Excelsior 4” appeared in Abbotsford provincial court on Monday morning (Nov. 2) to plead not guilty to a combined total of 21 charges. (Submitted photo)

Abbotsford hog-farm protestors plead not guilty to 21 charges

‘Excelsior 4’ make second appearance Monday in provincial court

Four people charged in relation to a protest in April 2019 at Excelsior Hog Farm in Abbotsford pleaded not guilty Monday morning (Nov. 2) to a total of 21 charges.

Amy Soranno, Jeff Rigear, Roy Sasano, and Nick Schafer – who refer to themselves as the “Excelsior 4” – made their second appearance in Abbotsford provincial court. Their charges include break-and-enter and mischief.

Soranno said the charges are an opportunity.

“We look forward to our trial, where we will further expose the rampant violence and suffering in animal agriculture, and the complicity of our justice and enforcement systems,” she said.

After their court appearance, the group joined supporters for a demonstration at the Vancouver headquarters of the BC SPCA. They are demanding that the agency “use its authority to take action against Excelsior for its well-documented abuse of animals.”

RELATED: Four Abbotsford pig-farm activists now facing 21 charges after first court appearance

RELATED: One person arrested at protest at Abbotsford pig farm

“At the very least, the BCSPCA should be publicly condemning Excelsior Hog Farm, and pressuring BC Pork to remove Excelsior’s owner, Ray Binnendyk, from their board of directors,” Soranno said in a prepared statement.

“They should also warn the entire industry that what Excelsior did is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated. Instead, the BCSPCA has breached its own confidentiality policy by turning in a whistleblower to the police.”

The group said they hope the government will take action over animal-cruelty investigations.

The Excelsior 4 were charged in July of this year after dozens of activists stormed the Excelsior Hog Farm on Harris Road on April 28, 2019. The protest took place less than a month after PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released hidden-camera footage which it said showed horrific conditions of animals at the farm.

The farm’s owners have disputed the claims, and said they had found hidden cameras on the property on March 23, 2019.

The BC SPCA investigated the original claims of animal abuse submitted by Soranno and her group, but in May 2019 they said there was insufficient evidence to support the recommendation of charges to Crown counsel. The case was reopened in August 2019, but the same decision was made to not pursue charges against Excelsior.

The SPCA has said it does not condone what was in the video but they could not move forward with the case because the sole evidence was a video that was obtained illegally and would not be admissible in court.

RELATED: SPCA responds to claims from accused in Excelsior Hog Farm case

Just Posted

From left: Thomas Kuecks, David Lane, John Ivison, Denis Berger, Rod Gray, and James Kuecks are Cabin Fever. Catch their performance on the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre website. (Ashley Foot photo)
A&E column: Music Festival winners, CVAC awards, and Cabin Fever

The latest from the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
Cowichan Valley MLA Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

BC Green Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

The city-owned lot at 361 St. Julien St., which has been home to a temporary homeless site for more than a year, will be sold and plans are to build a three-storey mixed-use development there, Peter de Verteuil, Duncan CAO explained at a recent council meeting. (File photo)
New development planned for homeless site in Duncan

Lot on St. Julien Street would see three-storey building

Historian and longtime Citizen columnist T.W. Paterson photographs the historical wreckage of a plane on Mount Benson. Paterson recently won an award from the British Columbia Historical Foundation. (Submitted)
Cowichan’s Tom W. Paterson wins award for historical writing

British Columbia Historical Federation hands Recognition Award to local writer

This electric school bus is the newest addition to the Cowichan Valley School District’s fleet. (Submitted)
Editorial: New electric school bus good place to start

Changing public transit like buses to electric really is important.

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read