I Got A Ticket – Bill 156

So I got a ticket, peeps. This makes me a real, card-carrying activist!

I was bearing witness at Fearman’s Pork, in Burlington, ON with the group New Wave Activism, and The Ag Gag bill, Bill 156, was only halfway approved at the time. We were still figuring out what the new do’s and don’ts were, and we wanted to comply with the law while still exercising our Charter Right to gather peacefully and demonstrate. The cops advised us we could cross the streets only when the light indicated pedestrians could safely cross. No touching trucks, no touching pigs, no giving water to the pigs. So that’s what we were doing.

The police were in their usual spot, observing us and pretending to “protect” us whilst scrutinizing us for any minor infraction of the law, yet “not seeing” others commit these same minor infractions….but I digress…and we walked across all four crosswalks regularly with our signs. When a transport truck arrived loaded with pigs, we held up our signs and crossed, legally, wherever we were at the time so passing traffic could draw a correlation. Sometimes that was in the crosswalk in which the truck would be turning – but as we all know from the Highway Traffic Act, all vehicles must yield to the pedestrians’ right of way in a legal crosswalk.

No one stopped us. No one warned us. We had our instructions and felt within our rights to do what we were doing well within the parameters of the law.

And then a few weeks later, quite a few of us were approached and ticketed for an October 1 infraction of Bill 156 – “attempting to interfere with transport of livestock”….what the actual fuck??

To say were were gob-smacked is an understatement.

Apparently, according to the District Attorney’s department, security video taken at the scene showed us attempting to interfere with livestock transport by simply crossing legally in the crosswalk where the truck was slated to turn.

Again, what the actual fuck?

Somebody found the time to extract the video and take it to the DA to examine and determine if any laws were broken for which we could be charged. Who paid for that? Who pays for the no less than two and often four police officers who sit near where we peacefully protest twice a week for anywhere from two to four hours each time? And the all-consuming question: when did pedestrians’ right of way become moot?

And most importantly of all: WHY? Why do they care if we cross the crosswalk and occasionally slow a vehicle down? I can cross any street in this country, at my own personal speed, and cars are supposed to yield to me. It slows them down, sure, but I’m not interfering in their activities in any way, and they in turn, know I have this right.

But apparently, Fearmans’ Pork does not want people to have that right on the crosswalk in front of their property. Again, why? Why does it matter to them if a livestock truck takes three minutes to reach the parking spot where they have yet another hour to wait for off-loading? What’s the rush, guys? And what are they trying to hide? Why don’t they want us to be able to see into the trucks? The trucks have holes in them so the pigs get fresh air (breathing in their own feces, vomit, and exhaust is as fresh as they are going to get at this point), and as a result. we can see in the trucks to take a picture of the conditions, but for some reason we are not allowed to do that anymore. That is now in direct violation of Bill 156, the Ag Gag bill. Whatever is going on in those trucks is a SECRET. You, the consumers, are not allowed to see where your food comes from and what happens to it anymore. YOU have to now simply believe the propaganda when the commercials say “organic, grain fed” “pasture raised” “non GMO” “no hormones” “happy, laughing” etc. You have to believe it, because Big Agriculture says so.

And you, by your silence while Bill 156 was pending, gave them permission to do this to you. Thanks to Sam for documenting this travesty and allowing me to post the video.

Compassion for All!

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.

me with sign

Me, doing my part to help people make the connection.

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.pigs 1

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. pigs 2

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. water

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.

frantically giving water

One of our group running with the moving truck to give water to a paniced and screaming pig, who was trying to escape.

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.

fearful pig face

The look of fear is evident on this one’s face; yet he doesn’t know the worst is yet to come. Photo taken by Carly (participant).

 

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