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Nov Advocate 2017

836 THE ADVOCATE VOL. 75 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2017 In this same decision celebrated as a significant victory for animals, the judge emphatically pronounced that “in fact, by law in Canada, pigs are not persons and they are property”.3 The judge then went even further and stated: “dogs and cats and other pets are property too, and not persons.”4 The question arises as to whether animal advocates won a limited victory (providing water to thirsty pigs is not interference with property rights) at the expense of the wider struggle for personhood recognition (the judge emphatically stating that animals—even our beloved family member dogs and cats— are clearly property), thus further reinforcing the property paradigm. It appears as if the reason the judge was intent on making the property status clarification was because of the various arguments presented at trial that tried to go beyond the immediate criminal charge and convert the trial into a forum that would elevate the legal status of animals. The significant question then arises as to whether the trial could have achieved the positive outcomes of acquittal on the immediate charges plus publicity about the treatment of food animals without the negative outcome of a further reinforcement of the property status of animals. In other words, did the strategy overreach and bring in issues not necessary for the acquittal and favourable publicity, nor ripe for discussion in that forum at that time, thus possibly a net legal setback? A recent article in The Washington Post asserts that Americans are eating more pork now than they have in decades.5 Yet, while testifying at her trial, Ms. Krajnc asserted “I think it’s actually child abuse to give bacon to children.” 6 In a society that clearly still believes that it is acceptable and desirable to eat bacon, how would the legal system and general public interpret such a provocative assertion? Does such an assertion resonate with the wider public (most of whom eat meat) or does it unnecessarily blunt and divert the widespread public sympathy for someone trying to bring relief to a suffering animal? It is unclear what strategic advantage was sought by this testimony in light of existing societal practice and consciousness. Animal advocates and their lawyers need to be clever and strategic combatants and carefully consider when and in what forum to make certain arguments. Based on various news accounts of the initial water-providing incident and the subsequent trial, the Toronto Pig Save advocates outside the court carried signs calling for people to stop eating meat and become vegans. In her trial testimony, Ms. Krajnc stated, “our goal is for people to go vegan”.7 In a society that clearly condones eating meat, does simply asking people to be vegans have any strategic resonance at all? At trial, Ms. Krajnc also argued in favour of applying the golden rule to animals and likened providing water to thirsty pigs as comparable to alleviating a dog’s suffering.8 This is an argument that more likely resonates with people who


Nov Advocate 2017
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