Essex Pig Save February Vigil and Media Coverage

Last week, we held our monthly Essex Pig Save vigil to bear witness to pigs arriving for slaughter at Cheale Meats in Essex, England. To say the event was a success wouldn’t be right, because we are always left with overwhelming sadness as the truck pulls in to the slaughterhouse, knowing that there is nothing more we can do for the animals inside. However, we are making great progress with this group, and sharing our story with the wider area to inform people about the work we are doing.

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Some of the 30+ activists who joined us to bear witness.

We had a great turnout, with over thirty people attending at various times on a very cold morning. At every vigil we have held so far, we have been joined by the police who we have found have had mixed reactions to the vigils. This week though, the police worked with us and the truck drivers to allow us to spend two minutes with each truck. Although this doesn’t seem like a lot of time at all, we are so grateful for the two minutes we get to spend with the animals. Their lives are going to be taken away not long after we see them, so two minutes is incredibly precious.

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We were all quite taken aback with how large the pigs were today. Cheale Meats kills around 6,000 animals a week, and they come from all different places – some are bred on factory farms, some on private farms – but they all end up here to be slaughtered. This is important to consider when seeing labels such as ‘humane’, ‘grass fed’ and ‘cage-free’ in animal agriculture. It seems that the purpose of such labels is solely to make people feel better about the products they are buying, without having any impact on animal welfare whatsoever. ‘Humane slaughter’ is an oxymoron – there is no humane way to kill somebody who doesn’t want to die. It was abundantly clear that the animals we saw today did not want to die.

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In the two minutes we had, we were able to get a glimpse of the individual personalities of each animal. Their reactions were very mixed, some were clearly frustrated having hardly any space to move and so began to fight with their companions. Others were still and looked petrified, their curious eyes meeting with ours every now and then. It is now common knowledge that pigs are highly intelligent animals – they are very aware of their surroundings. When looking into their eyes, it is obvious that they are reading the signals of those around them. This is why it’s so important that we are there for them in their final moments.

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Another thing that’s so heartbreaking when you have the opportunity to get up close to an animal that is heading for slaughter, is noticing the tags on their ears. This clearly symbolises the idea that they are viewed as ‘property’ and their individual personalities are completely ignored, as they are reduced to simply a number. Think of your pet at home – think of all the little quirks they have. One of my rescued cats called Hattie has really thrived since we took her home from Cat’s Protection just over a year ago. I first knew her as a scared, timid cat, but she has grown into an intuitive, loving and sometimes even mischievous member of the family. The animals we saw today will never have that chance to show anyone who they really are. Their tags are a reminder that animal agriculture has robbed them of this. They are viewed as simply a number.

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Hopefully we gave the pigs we met today some comfort before they entered Cheale Meats. The Save Movement is continuing to grow worldwide – I just hope that with this comes less people actively participating in such a cruel and unnecessary industry.

RIP to all the animals we met on 13th February 2017 – we’re so sorry we couldn’t save you.

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Essex Pig Save in the News!

We are spreading the message of The Save Movement across our local area of Essex! This week we have been featured on the news site Essex Live, and also in the newspapers the Essex Chronicle and the Yellow advertiser. Check out the link below to see our online coverage, talking about the love-based approach that all groups in The Save Movement adopt.

Essex Live coverage

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We look forward to welcoming more new activists at our next Essex Pig Save vigil on 13th March 2017!

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Second Chance Animal Rescue – Giving Animals the Second Chance they Deserve

A couple of weeks ago, I got to spend the day at Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCAR) in Crockenhill, Kent, England. Hanging out with rescued farm animals is probably my favourite thing to do, especially a few days after attending a save vigil (check out my experience at Essex Pig Save here). Watching happy farm animals live out the rest of their days in peace and freedom is an incredible feeling, it reminds us of just what they are capable of. Very different to the lives most of them are forced to endure on factory farms.

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SCAR has been running since 2011, and officially became a charity in January 2016. John Ranger is the founder of SCAR, and I also got to meet Daisy who is a Trustee. They look after around 350-400 animals – some (e.g. reptiles) do not live on site but with expert volunteers. They rehome cats, small animals (e.g. rabbits, guinea pigs), hens, and ponies, only if the home is a forever home where they will live a better life than they would have here at SCAR.

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Cows have unimaginably tough lives living on factory farms (click here for more information). But the cows living at SCAR seemed so content. Thriving in their well-deserved freedom, I got to spend a lot of time with Arnold and co.

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You know something really weird? I’d never actually seen a pig in real life until my first visit to Hillside Animal Sanctuary (check out my blog on Your Daily Vegan about this here). I’d openly say that pigs were my favourite animal, but I’d never actually seen one! This is because, well, when would you? The vast majority of pigs will be living on factory farms, hidden away. Since attending save vigils, I now see pigs every couple of weeks, but not in the circumstances I would ever wish to see them. At SCAR, I got to meet a whole bunch of happy pigs – they were all curious, unique individuals…and also hilarious!

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Muddy pig snouts…is there anything better?

Surprised to see an emu happily hanging out with the pigs, I learned that SCAR really do offer a home to any animal who needs one. Mumu the emu’s story began when somebody bought a fertile emu egg online, hatched it out and raised the emu with their 30 chickens in a chicken coop. When Mumu got too large (which didn’t take long!) they got in touch with SCAR, who gave him a home where he seems to get on pretty well with all the other residents, considering, you know…he’s an emu!

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I also got to meet some beautiful racoon dogs who were cuddled up and keeping each other warm. These animal are often used for their fur, and they seemed to frighten very easily. I can’t imagine how terrified similar animals must feel living in over-cramped fur farms.

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With this amount of animals, you have to wonder, how do they do it? Well…SCAR don’t officially open to the public but have periodic volunteering events. As a charity, they rely on donations to cover the costs (find out how you can donate below). They also hold fundraisers, such as their upcoming ‘The Retro Years’ SCAR fundraiser on 24th February, find out more details for this here.

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Cows get cold too you know!

Spending time with rescued animals must definitely be good for the soul. I admire the incredible work that SCAR and other sanctuaries are doing. Each of the animals here are ambassadors for others of their kind – they show us what all animals are capable of, happily thriving in a safe and loving environment. Thank you for all your hard work, SCAR! Check out the details of how to support this amazing sanctuary below.

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Support Second Chance Animal Rescue!

Website (option to donate via Paypal).

Facebook (‘like’ for information about the latest volunteering opportunities).

Instagram: @secondchance_animalrescue (‘follow’ for insanely adorable animal photos!).