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

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

Just Posted

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
47 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health region

1,538 total cases, 399 are active, ten in hospital

Follow public health recommendations, says Interior Health as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Revelstoke. (Image courtesy CDC)
Revelstoke positive COVID cases grows to 29

Interior Health announced a cluster in the community on Nov. 26

Figure skaters in the old skating rink in the 1940s. 
(Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 4034)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Nov. 26

A look a local history as recorded by the newspaper

Cst. Dane Storey was recognized as a member of Alexa’s Team, a provincial recognition paying tribute to police officers who make an extraordinary contribution to reducing the number of impaired drivers on the roads. (Submitted/Revelstoke RCMP)
Alexa’s Team awarded to Revelstoke RCMP officer

Cst. Dane Storey removed 59 impaired drivers from B.C. roads in 2019

Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens for the season tomorrow, Nov. 27, 2020. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Know before you go: Revelstoke Mountain Resort opens tomorrow

Masks are mandatory, lineup opens at 6:30 a.m.

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

(Pixabay)
‘We need to be empathetic’; Kelowna support worker speaks out after disabled individual denied haircut

Individual with severe autism denied service at a Kelowna hair salon for not wearing mask

Parents are urged to be on alert after a potential child abduction attempt took place near Armstrong Elementary School Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (amsas/neden photo)
Possible child abduction attempt at North Okanagan elementary school prompts warning

A letter from the school’s principal urges parents to be on high alert

British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COLUMN: Anti-maskers’ message misses the mark

Following COVID-19 restrictions now could determine just how happy our holidays are

The Interior Wildfire Rehabilitation Society is looking for 10-15 acres to house a rehab centre for injured and orphaned wildlife like deer and moose calves. (Black Press file photo)
Okanagan group look for property to house wildlife rehab centre

The Interior Wildlife Rehabilitation Society is looking for 10 acres for injured/orphaned animals

Addie Pafiolis with her son, Theo, who died just five days after his birth due to a heart condition in 2017. For the past four years, Addie and her husband Chris have been supporting local families around the holiday season in Theo's memory. (Contributed)
Okanagan couple supporting local families in son’s memory this Christmas

Theo Pafiolis was five days old when he passed away due to a heart condition; now, his parents are supporting others in his name

Dentice di Frasso, a member of Italian nobility, once owned land in Summerland. (Contributed)
Italian nobility family once lived in Summerland

Dentice di Frasso and his family owned land in the Prairie Valley area

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

Most Read