“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

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

From left: Councillor Lucy Taylor, Councillor Barry Banford, Councillor Bill Haring, Mayor Merlin Blackwell, Councillor Lynne Frizzle, Councillor Lyle Mckenzie and Councillor Shelley Sim. (District of Clearwater photo)
Intersections in Weyerhaeuser community could soon see some changes

A four-way stop and assessment are planned for two intersections in the community.

File photo
Encounter with suspicious man has Vavenby mother concerned

The man was driving a red car and asked her 11-year-old daughter for her address as she walked home.

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Child sex crimes charges against Interior’s top doc won’t impact pandemic response: Dix

Dr. Albert de Villiers is charged with sexual assault and sexual interference

Dr. Albert de Villiers, chief medical health officer for the Interior Health Authority. (Contributed)
Interior Health top doctor released on bail after sex crimes charges involving child

Dr. Albert de Villiers was arrested on two Alberta charges in Kelowna on Tuesday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read