A group of activists with the Okanagan Animal Save group come together around a Rocana Meats delivery truck for a photo during a protest at the company’s facility in Salmon Arm. (Facebook/Okanagan Animal Save)

A group of activists with the Okanagan Animal Save group come together around a Rocana Meats delivery truck for a photo during a protest at the company’s facility in Salmon Arm. (Facebook/Okanagan Animal Save)

Activists protest at Shuswap pig abattoir

Incident at meat processing plant under investigation by Salmon Arm RCMP

Police are investigating another protest at Rocana Meats processing plant in Salmon Arm’s industrial park.

“At approximately 8:20 p.m. on Dec. 4, Salmon Arm RCMP officers attended to a local meat processing site after approximately 15 protesters stopped a truck that was arriving with cargo for processing,” says Salmon Arm RCMP Staff Sgt. Scott West in a Dec. 10 press release. “Police were called to investigate an alleged assault after the operator of the site removed protesters from in front of the vehicle.”

Peaceful vigil or harassment?

Members of an animal rights activists group, Okanagan Animal Save, say their protest was a peaceful presence to bear witness to the pigs’ last moments of life before being unloaded from a transport truck.

But Rocana Meats manager Dave DeBoer says members of the group impeded the driver’s progress by standing in front of and climbing on the truck.

In a Dec. 7 email, Okanagan Animal Save vigil organizer Amy Soranno says that unlike other protests that have been held at the meat processing plant, the Dec. 4 vigil was an attempt to be present during the arrival of a truck bringing animals to the plant.

Related: Pork processing

She describes the altercation that ensued between her group and DeBoer as one in which the meat processing plant manager almost hit them with his car, then emerged yelling and swearing at the protesters.

“As this was unfolding the rest of the group was able to safely approach the side of the truck and observed the pigs in the trailer, obtaining video footage and still photos of the six-month-old pigs,” writes Soranno.

But DeBoer views the incident through a different lens.

He says he spotted about 30 protesters gathered in the self-storage located at the corner of Auto Road and 54th Street SE late in the afternoon and called the driver to tell him to remain in Revelstoke for a while in an effort to freeze the group out. He says half the group left before the truck arrived.

“This is probably the sixth or seventh time this has happened; I am not forcing people to eat what I eat,” he said, charging the protesters with making the treatment of the pigs worse than it is and of owning up to using sounds of squealing animals from another facility in one of their videos.

Related: Activists protest pig slaughter outside Salmon Arm slaughterhouse

DeBoer says he met the truck as it came off the Trans-Canada and drove onto 54th ahead of it, passing the protesters who were now lined up on the road.

“As soon as my car passed, they jumped in front of the truck and climbed onto the side of the trailer where the pigs are, blocking my driver’s truck,” he says. “They were hanging off the bumpers and the driver had to slam on the brakes.”

DeBoer admits to getting angry and yelling at protesters to get off the road.

He says he doesn’t mind if people want to protest as long as they stay on the side of the road and don’t interfere with his business.

But in her email to the newspaper, Soranno says, “We don’t feel that asking the truck driver for two minutes is unreasonable or a hindrance to their operations. We just want a peaceful and safe opportunity to say goodbye to the pigs and show them love in their last moments here with us, a sentiment that these animals have never experienced in their short six-month-old lives.”

At this point, both DeBoer and the truck driver called the police, who remained on-site until the pigs were offloaded from the truck.

“This is harassment; you want to protest go for it, but they’re paid protesters,” he charges.

In her email, Soranno indicates the activists will return to Rocana Meats and are hopeful “that the next vigil will see more co-operation from the owner and truck drivers.”

West, meanwhile, says no arrests were made at the site on Dec. 4 and the RCMP investigation of the incident is ongoing.


@SalmonArm
barb.brouwer@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read