Does Jenny ever feel in danger during some of these actions? “I’ve experienced violence from workers in the past. I was part of a lockdown, the slaughterhouse seven we called it, at the cow slaughterhouse back in 2014 and we refused to get up. It blocked the slaughterhouse trucks coming in. In the end, all the tactics trying to drag us away were bruising. And some injuries occurred when the police dragged us away too. We were all arrested at that point. You can certainly experience violence as an activist.”
That has been the experience for many activists, and Regan Russell losing her life while bearing witness to pigs last year is the ultimate act of violence. Jenny believes that this tragedy has incited people to become active. “It’s put a fire in people’s hearts to carry on in her name and a lot of people became activists upon hearing of her death. Her memory is inspiring a lot of people.”
Jenny has also experienced what she terms “major occurrences” in her work as an activist. For example, there was a police raid at 6:00 a.m. when she was dragged out of her house, cuffed, then the house was searched. This was due to a pig rescue mission near Lucan, Ontario, an arrest she went to trial for; charges were eventually dropped.
“It’s kind of jarring, that type of thing, the responses sometimes from the authorities. But you just carry on in whatever way you can. At that time, I had a restriction that I couldn’t travel outside of Ontario. We have great lawyers as well who represent animal rights activists. We’re generally safe in their hands.”
Jenny has been arrested seven times—once in the UK for a Canada Goose disruption and the remainder in Canada. The action called the Slaughterhouse Seven, where they blocked trucks at St. Helen’s cow slaughterhouse, the pig rescue which resulted in the police raid, were the two instances where the charges went to trial, the latter in London, Ontario.
“If I can help by creating dramatic grassroots actions, or even by getting arrested for civil disobedience, the hope is that it could further the cause of animals in a positive way.”