The Montreal chapter of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE Montreal), which campaigns against animal husbandry, claimed responsibility for the hanging of three frozen pigs found under overpasses in the borough of Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie early Thursday morning. Eleven of the activists from this group had been convicted of breaking and entering a pigsty in April 2022.
Where exactly were these animals hanging?
The first pig was found clinging to the viaduct that passes over Christophe-Colomb, near Des Carrières, following a call received at 911 around 3:30 a.m. Thursday, indicates the Police Department of the City of Montreal (SPVM). The other two were seen by police on patrol in the following hours. The second was spotted around 5 a.m. above Papineau, still near Des Carrières, and the third above De Lorimier, near Dandurand.
Why such a scene?
“In the extreme situation in which we live, where we kill animals when it is not necessary, it takes actions that may seem extreme,” explains Nathe, a spokesperson for DxE Montreal met on Friday. Nathe, who asks to be identified only by his first name, says he did not participate in the operation and is only its spokesperson.
And what are the police doing?
“The investigation is continuing, but there are no arrests or anyone positively identified in connection with this event,” SPVM spokeswoman Caroline Chèvrefils told us on Friday. The SPVM, however, did not want to specify if it had any suspects. “It is not because the person has identified himself as the author of these gestures that we automatically accuse him or that we automatically identify him as a suspect. »
And before, it was an entire pigsty that was targeted?
In December 2019, 12 DxE activists entered Ferme Porgreg, in Saint-Hyacinthe, where they shot videos. When they refused to leave the premises, the owner called the police. In April 2022, the 11 activists who were adults at the time of the events were convicted of breaking and entering causing mischief. The Crown asked for a suspended sentence (which would earn them a criminal record) along with two years probation and 150 hours of community service. The case is due back in court next April.
They have a fixation on pigs?
It could have been any animal, assures Nathe. “There was no link between the two, but the intervention with the pigsty was also an act of denunciation. The Union of Agricultural Producers (UPA) did not take any risks. In May 2020, the union that represents farmers in the province obtained an injunction prohibiting DxE Montreal and anyone connected to the group from protesting on the property of an agricultural producer. DxE Montreal and the activists who entered the pigsty are also prohibited from approaching within 200 meters of agricultural property without authorization.
So the breeders are quiet?
The UPA wants the 11 convicted activists to have criminal records. “They are against animal husbandry and the consumption of meat, and decide to take criminal means to make their point,” denounced the director general of the organization, Charles-Félix Ross, on Friday. “You can’t take the law into your own hands: even the police can’t enter without a warrant. It’s bullying! The UPA trained and informed its members on vegan activism, and asked the Sûreté du Québec to intervene quickly if another action occurred on a farm in the region.
Is that why they bring us dead pig bodies into town?
According to the DxE spokesperson, “the purpose of this action is to raise people’s awareness, to make them realize that when we pay for animal products, we create animal suffering which is not justifiable because we other options”.
Isn’t the means more off-putting than convincing?
“The link is super simple to make: when you pay, the animals die, it’s as simple as that,” pleads Nathe. The simple fact that their intervention prompted an interview “proves that it has an impact,” he believes. “The important thing is that we talk and then we can start having discussions around these subjects. It’s a bit of a way to demarginalize veganism. »
Is this a first this year?
No, Nathe himself demonstrated against the use of dairy products and eggs at the vegetarian restaurant Végo, rue Saint-Denis, in January. In it, he denounced the artificial insemination of dairy cows, the slaughter of calves and the fact that “live male chicks are ground up so that people can eat eggs”.
A vegetarian restaurant? Why target people who already eat less meat?
“Less animal exploitation” is not “no animal exploitation”, emphasizes Nathe. “The goal is to abolish unnecessary animal exploitation. It’s okay that people don’t agree with our actions, but we’re here to talk about it. The police did not intervene during this demonstration; 911 did not even receive a call, the SPVM told us.