“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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)
BC SPCA’s horse-rescue program offers equine intervention

Book Rescue Me raises funds, awareness for animal-welfare agency

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Keir Macdonald, CEO of Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery Education Society, with the “first of its kind” Adult Residential Substance Use and Supportive Recovery Facility Homelessness Count. It was done around the time of the Metro Vancouver Homeless Count (March 3 to 4, 2020) to complement the count. (Photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey homeless, recovery counts show need for long-term solutions

This was the first time recovery, substance use facilities were included in the count

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

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

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Most Read