I’ve been an animal lover all my life, but I’m ashamed to say it has only been in the last year that I took off the Self-Imposed Blinders of Cognitive Dissonance and realized that must include ALL animals, even (and maybe especially) animals we as a society typically consume for food or other products: cows, pigs, chickens, etc.
Well they say it’s never too late! To that end, I have started advocating for them and a year ago, stopped eating them.
I have been writing for our local shelter, The Niagara Falls Humane Society, for years now, and am happy to contribute in this way in an effort to help the animals and the organization which does so much for disenfranchised pets. But I realize now it doesn’t stop there. There is a whole mindset out there of differentiating between a food product animal and a pet animal. For instance, yesterday I participated in a demonstration in Burlington outside Fearman’s Pork slaughterhouse.
It was an eye-opener to say the least.
The group in charge of the event was The Toronto Pig Save, a compassionate organization which holds weekly vigils bearing witness to the pain, abuse, and torment perpetrated on pigs destined for your plate.
We have had record high temperatures, making everything hotter. Tarmac heats up quickly, internal vehicle temperatures, as we all know, can shoot up to 65 degrees C (150 deg F) on a 35 deg C (95 deg F) day. Surface temperatures have been known to reach 88 deg C, enough to cause a burn. Public education is rampant in an effort to prevent deaths of pets and children being left in cars in summer weather. (How is that even a thing?) It’s a serious issue, and I’m pretty sure no one would disagree.
Thursday was one of those days; and at 8 a.m. with the mean temperature approximately 29 deg C, it was pretty apparent it was going to be another scorcher. But it was nothing compared to what the pigs being brought to Fearman’s for slaughter felt. It was getting hot.
Crammed tightly, butt to snout, in a metal trailer with small air holes studding the sides as a meagre attempt at ventilation, temperatures quickly reached more than dangerous levels, while the animals were being rocked around the moving trailer. There was no access to water, not even water bottles hanging from the sides of the trailer for them. Many of the pigs vomited or pooped, from fear or motion sickness, or both, creating a pungent miasma in which they lay, licking moisture mixed with excrement off the floor in an effort to slake their desperate thirst. They had no idea what was happening, and the smell of their fear mixed with their body waste intensified the stench. And it was getting hotter.
Some died from heart failure or stroke due to the extreme temperatures and fear, and the others had to clamber over the bodies to move around in order to get as close to the minute air holes as possible. Still getting hotter.
Our job was to hold up signs in the vicinity, trying to educate those driving by as to WHO they were eating, and what inhumanities were being perpetrated on them daily right in the middle of their neighbourhood! Amidst cries of “I love bacon” or “Mmmm ribs!” we staunchly held our signs and waved at the infrequent honks and thumbs up directed towards us. And it got even hotter.
When the trucks came by, we prayed to the gods of traffic lights for a red so we could run up to the trailer and give the pigs water, with soothing words and gentle breath, trying to calm them, apologizing, and explaining not all humans were so evil. It was not very believable, sadly, but we did our best. Many of us cried with the pigs, tears mingling with the water we gave. There was nothing we could do, but we did what we could. And it kept getting hotter.
Their cries and squeals reached across the intersection as they fought each other inside the trailer for a few drops of the water. Their desperation was apparent, but equally as recognizable was the look of desolation and surrender on some of them. Barely turning their eyes towards us with hands outstretched holding a water bottle, their eyes leaking tears, caring little for the act of kindness that came too late.
We took pictures destined to grace our various social media platforms, hoping that for those who are visual, showing their food source was an abomination on our humanity would sway them in a more compassionate direction. We made videos to post, pleading to the public to heed the reality of what was going on their plate and how it got there.
It didn’t help those truckloads of pigs that day; it may not help for the next day either. But I have faith that someday it will.
I have faith that every day new people are joining our group of compassionate individuals and we are growing, perhaps slowly, but very surely. We need to continue to advocate for these sentient creatures, we need to stay the course and stalwartly educate anyone and everyone, by whatever means we do best. We need to keep our faces turned upwards and face the nameless throngs, voicing the truth, and reaching out bravely to crack the screen of cognitive dissonance which has enwrapped society so tightly in its grasp of oblivion.
We can help remove the blinders, with love, with compassion.
Reblogged this on The Butterfly Chronicles and commented:
I’m including this post from my other blog here because it’s part of the new path I’m travelling, and also, the more exposure this topic gets the better!
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