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

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

Jann Arden will embark on Canada-wide tour Spring 2022 with a stop in Penticton at the South Okanagan Events Centre on June 13. (Contributed)
Jann Arden coming to Penticton in 2022

The Jann Arden Live! tour has been rescheduled for 2022

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – 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
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

Most Read