What if pigs, cows and chickens were not used for food. What if they were, let’s say, roaming the wilds like elephants, deer, and rhinos. And what if you found out, through some undercover activists, that there were places where these animals were kept and bred for an unnecessary use, like trophies, rather than for food. And what if this enterprise kept these animals in dirty, deplorable conditions; beat them, cut off horns and tails without anaesthetic, forcibly impregnated them to control births, prevented them from seeing the light of day by keeping them in tight metal cages and just generally abused them in order to profit off them. And they are not food. Think elephants, dogs, cats…
Would you be appalled? Would you be angry? Wouldn’t you do everything you could to lobby for the animals’ freedom? Wouldn’t you picket these organizations; produce petitions to be signed; sneak in to take videos to show the world what is actually going on? A warehouse full of dogs kept in metal crates, their puppies laying in their own filth around them. Like puppy mills but for cows, pigs, and chickens.
Wouldn’t you think this is a bad thing? That humans were evil to the core to be able to do that to innocent beings? I mean, they are not being used for food, we have loads of other things to eat – remember this is hypothetical. Try to be honestly neutral here.
You would, I know it. I can see the articles being shared on Facebook, IG and Twitter. I can see your comments. They are the same ones I see under pictures of abused dogs and cats. The same ones I see plastered all over; photos of Trump Jr. and his slaughtered trophies; Michael Vick and his bait and fighting dogs; carcasses of elephants missing tusks. I know you would think it was wrong.
So why is it alright now?
Why is it ok for cows, pigs, and chickens? Because we eat them? So there are certain animals we can abuse and some we can not. Why? Are they lesser in some way? Are they ugly? Is that it? An abomination to our senses? No…Do they damage our property, encroach in our neighbourhoods, steal our children? No…What do they do that gives us the right to maim and kill them when other animals are protected?
Everyone wants it. In every layer of society we insist on it: governments, boardrooms, companies, charitable organizations, even ingredients on packages. We want this information so we can make informed and bi-partisan decisions on what we want to purchase, ingest, and otherwise use in our daily lives.
We want to know if that outfit was sewn by sweatshops in India or by free trade employees. We want to know if the car we purchase supports our economy and our labourers. We want to know if our energy is sustainable, if the choices our politicians are making is reflective of our beliefs, if our purchases are doing damage to our environment. We have a right to spend our hard-earned salaries on what we want based on our individual consciences and preferences; and we have a right to know the effects, both long-term and short, on our world. And nobody – not even the Prime Minister – is exempt!
Oh wait…no… there is one group which feels they are exempt from transparency; who feel what goes on behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors, refusing to be accountable to the public – that same public who is expected to purchase and consume their products like automatons, never asking questions, never learning the truth, just following along believing the pretty propaganda put forth by their media machine.
Yep, I’m talking about Big Agriculture. Big Ag, as it’s fondly referred to by those immersed in its gloomy shade.
In November 2019, as published by the Animal Protection Party of Canada, Alberta introduced Bill 29, the Trespass Statutes (Protecting Law-Abiding Property Owners) Amendment. This bill passed extremely quickly, in response to complaints by Big Ag regarding a couple of earlier events, where activists peacefully occupied a hog farm, and later a turkey farm, and bore witness to the despicable conditions and treatment of the animals housed there, going so far as to video tape and then expose it publicly. The resulting hue and cry was tremendous, as Canadians rose up in horror at the reality of where and how their food is produced. Big Ag was not impressed.
And why would they be? If it wasn’t for those meddling activists, (Scooby Doo much?) their routine would have continued unabated, with animals being cruelly raised and treated and sold to unsuspecting consumers, whilst filling Big Ag’s already over-extended wallet. And consumers, unaware of the facts, would sheepily continued to purchase said products and hand over their hard earned funds right into the fat, greasy palms of the business.
In Toronto, meanwhile, Riding-Regency Beef Packing plant was shut down in September of 2019, due to activists exposing the horrific and unhygienic conditions therein, and inhumane treatment of the animals shipped there. Multiple recalls of tainted meat sealed the deal.
Those darned activists again!
Now, December 2019, Ontario Big Ag is following in Alberta’s footsteps. Bill 156 has been introduced. This bill would see anyone convicted of trespassing at a farm or slaughterhouse face a fine of up to $25,000. It would also outlaw picketing, demonstrating, or otherwise interfering with vehicles in transit to or from said premises. And perhaps more importantly of all, it would criminalize entering those businesses under cover: potential whistleblowers would face serious charges for entering the farm or slaughterhouse under “false pretenses”.
That is some heavy shit, peeps. And I just have to think what is Big Ag afraid of? What are they trying to hide? Because surely, if all was copasetic, there would be no reason to implement Bill 156.
I‘ve been to those demonstrations, peeps. We don’t impede their business. We simply hold signs and try to educate the public. At the Save Movement Vigils, we simply offer water to the pigs in transport, who have been in the truck often for days with no food or water, in either sub zero temperatures or scorching heat. We stay clear of the front of moving trucks and try really hard to not let our emotions get the better of us when we hear the screaming of the pigs as they are gassed. That being said, I’m sure there is the odd activist who let’s their heart lead their head at these events, but for the most part, they are peaceful demonstrations intended to let the public know just what is going on in these places.
More importantly, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees us the right to civil disobedience and peaceful protest. Big Ag has NO RIGHT AT ALL TO IMPEDE OUR CANADIAN CHARTER RIGHTS. But they think they do…
Basically, Big Ag doesn’t want anyone to know what goes on inside their farms and slaughterhouses.
Why? Because if we knew, we might, as compassionate and thinking humans, boycott their products to hold them accountable for their atrocities, and they would lose money. Right now, the system they have in place has been in practice for long enough for them to have it down pat: low output, high revenue. The animals are commodities, simple as that. If one piglet dies, oh well there are seven more. Just leave it there to rot with its siblings because moving it costs money in that someone has to go in there and retrieve it and dispose of it. May as well wait til the piglets are grown enough (17 days or so) to be removed from their mother, and get rid of it then with all the feces and other detritus. The mother will be sent to a place to be forcibly inseminated again, and again, and again, and the current batch of babies will go to be fed hormones and gmo grains and antibiotics (for their infections which are not treated because it involves some extra work) in order for them to reach adult size in six months, upon which time they will be shipped for slaughter. It’s a compact system that requires very little effort for maximum remuneration and they don’t want to change that – and having their practices exposed by whistleblowers will surely cause that to happen.
And so they have come up with a plan: Bill 156.
A Bill to silence those who are trying to speak for those who cannot.
This is a dangerous precedent, peeps. You think it’s minor because it’s “just animals” but let me tell you, once one aspect of our lives is gagged, expect a whole lot more to come rolling in. Pro-Choice? They’ll have a Bill for that. Gender discrimination? They’ll have a bill for that. Mental Health issues? They’ll have a Bill for that.
And what about the public’s “Right to Rescue”? How can we exercise that right if we can’t access the venues wherein those needing to be rescued reside? What about a child needing to be rescued? With Bill 156, technically, no one could secretly expose abusers anymore.
Whether you are an animal activist or not, vegan or omnivore, YOU CAN’T LET THIS BILL BE PASSED! You must speak up and oppose this Bill, or you won’t be able to speak up and be heard about anything else. Big Ag isn’t the only huge conglomerate out there trying to hide behind their goldspun images. Find a loophole for one, and you open the door to a whole gaggle of loopholes intent on silencing dissenters. Imagine silencing Martin Luther King Jr.? Or William Lyon Mackenzie? Or Susan B. Anthony? Or Emmeline Pankhurst?
You mustn’t be fooled into thinking this battle is only for vegans and Animal Rights Activists. This battle is for you and your children and your children’s children.
You want to know what you eat? How it’s processed? What you wear? Where it comes from? How it’s made? STOP BILL 156