FINAL VERDICT WILL BE GIVEN ON MAY 4TH AS #PIGTRIAL CONCLUDES

 

The world eagerly anticipate the final court hearing where Canadian activist may face a prison sentence for feeding water to dehydrated pigs

On Thursday 4th May, a case that has gained global media attention and caused worldwide debate for almost two years will finally draw to a close as Anita Krajnc, Co-Founder of Toronto Pig Save, will have her final court hearing in Burlington, Canada.

The trial will begin at 9am at the Burlington Court House, with an all-day vigil starting at 7am at Fearmans ‘Pork’ inc. Several groups will also be holding solidarity vigils worldwide to show unity with the message that compassion is not a crime.

Ms Krajnc was charged with criminal mischief in June 2015 after feeding water to dehydrated pigs in a transportation truck, bound for slaughter. Please see ‘The Crime: Compassion’ video of the incident that led to the charges here. She faces a potential six month prison sentence, and $5,000 fine. At the most recent trial on March 9th, Judge Harris said he needed more time to issue the verdict.

The case has attracted global media coverage, and the defence put together by Ms Krajnc’s lawyers James Silver and Gary Grill, both vegan, has put the animal agriculture industry on trial.

The defence shows people that pigs are persons, not property and that Ms Krajnc’s actions were adhering to ‘The Golden Rule’ – treat others as you wish to be treated.
‘Anita is acting in the public good,’ Mr Grill told a packed courtroom. ‘Though pigs are not recognized as persons under law, they have the same capacity to suffer as humans. It is clear that the public has an interest in fostering the good actions of others.’

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Virtual reality footage showing typical treatment of pigs in factory farms has also been used together with evidence showing how sentient and self-aware pigs are from leading scientists.

‘Pigs have individual personalities. They’re also one of the few species that can recognise themselves in a mirror. They have self-awareness, self-agency and have a sense of themselves within the social community. Each one is a unique individual.’ said Lori Marino, a Neuroscientist who testified at the Pig Trial on November 1st 2016.

Toronto Pig Save started in 2011 and began a wider network known as The Save Movement in which groups from around the world join together to bear witness to animals arriving in transportation trucks at slaughterhouses. There are now more than 130 groups worldwide, including in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

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The public are encouraged to show support via social media by using the hashtags #pigtrial and #compassionisnotacrime. You can also pledge your support by joining the #pigtrial Thunderclap here.

The Save Movement are aiming for #pigtrial and #compassionisnotacrime to be trending worldwide, sharing the story of the trial as widely as possible. Please join us to spread the message!

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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!

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!).

Bearing Witness with Essex Pig Save – Why Being Vegan Isn’t Enough

In 2016, I took the step from vegan to vegan activist. It was a new year’s resolution of mine to become more involved in animal rights. I would watch videos of undercover investigations in factory farms, and I knew that my money was not paying for any of this cruelty…but this still didn’t make me feel any better. No fair! I did the research, watched the footage, I made the leap from vegetarian to vegan, surely I should feel at peace knowing that my money isn’t paying anybody to torture and kill animals?! Unfortunately, for many people like me, this isn’t enough. New investigations keep cropping up all the time, new disturbing pictures, and although you might not be contributing to it, are you doing enough to change this course of history? Or will you be burdened with the fear of future generations looking back and saying, ‘why didn’t they do more?’

My answer? Activism. Last summer, I joined Toronto Pig Save in a series of vigils in a short space of time, bearing witness to cows, pigs, lambs and chickens. I talked to Anita Krajnc about how her passion lead to her facing the possibility of going to prison for what she believed in (read more about Anita’s trial here). I talked to other activists, and eventually found that a lot of people felt the same as me. Since then I have attended regular save vigils, taking time out of my own little life to think about the suffering of others, and actually being there for them, instead of turning a blind eye. The quote that best sums up what I’m talking about here is:

‘Activism is my rent for living on the planet.’ – Alice Walker

Yesterday I joined other activists to say goodbye to innocent pigs about to enter Cheale Meats in Essex. This is one of the ‘nicer’ locations for a slaughterhouse, as strange as that is to say. The surrounding area here is very deceiving –  a beautiful countryside with birds singing and typical rural surroundings. The thing that ruins all this though? The screams of helpless pigs inside Cheale Meats, and today those screams were extra loud.

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We were able to bear witness to some of the pigs entering Cheale Meats. They were cramped, frightened, agitated and seemed to have an idea about where they were headed. Well, they are one of the world’s most intelligent animals (cleverer than dogs) let’s give them some credit, right? Take a moment to think about how you would feel if you were in this very same situation…

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We had two precious minutes with these animals. For two minutes, they were shown compassion. For two minutes, they were viewed as living beings instead of simply commodities. For two minutes, time spent with them was time we wanted to give, not because we were ‘doing our job’ to cause them pain and suffering. For us it was just two minutes, for them it was some of their last moments on earth.

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As the trucks pulled off into the gloom of Cheale Meats, we spent an extra two minutes remembering these animals silently. As the human race, we have let them down. But as individuals, there’s still a lot more we can do.

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In many situations in life, you can do something or you can do nothing. As sad as it is to say, the animals I met today were going to die regardless. We can either be there for them, and share their story, or we can let them suffer in silence. At the end of 2016, I wrote about some of my proudest moments of the year (check this out here)- it wasn’t losing weight, it wasn’t stopping biting my nails, it wasn’t spending less money on clothes – it was getting active for animals. Feeling overwhelmed and angry about a factory farming video you’ve just watched? Good! Use it. Use it to share their story, attend animal rights events, go to vigils and look into the eyes of animals bound for slaughter. Because this is happening whether you turn a blind eye or not. But I guarantee you will feel stronger and prouder as you find yourself part of some amazing milestones that will be happening for animals. Just this weekend, Ringling Brother’s Circus announced they will (finally) be closing this year, and no more animals will be suffering for our entertainment in their hands (read about this here). Imagine how awesome it feels to be a part of that? To have protested for a cause you felt so passionate about, and the world listened. It can happen, and it is happening! Make 2017 the year you actually did something about what you care about. And speak up! Because the world is listening, and things are changing, but please don’t forget those that won’t get to see this change.

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RIP to all the pigs I met today.

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The Save Movement

An excellent way to get active for animals is by attending Save vigils. These are now cropping up all over the place, so the chances are there will be one not too far from you. And if there isn’t? Start your own! I bet there will be plenty of other people in your area that want to get active for animals too. Check out the following links for more information:

List of Save Groups

Essex Pig Save

Toronto Pig Save

2016 – Animal Activism Year in Review

In the world of animal rights, 2016 has definitely seen some positive changes worldwide. More people are vegan than ever before, and also many vegans have turned to activism to use their voices for animals. It has been my first full year of animal activism, and taking action for animals has became a huge part of my life. Here are some of my proudest achievements from 2016…

Essex Pig Save’s First Vigil

Read about it here.

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This was my first ever save vigil of any kind, and it was in my home county! I have always been a huge supporter of Toronto Pig Save, and was so happy that the Save Movement was expanding to the UK. This was the first of many vigils which went on to occur every month, with a growing team of activists. Our numbers have pretty much doubled since this very first vigil. We were able to bear witness to pigs entering Cheale Meats in Brentwood, Essex, and offer them comfort in any way we could. The next Essex Pig Save vigil will be held on 16th January 2017 – check out the Essex Pig Save Facebook page here for more information.

I Stand with Anita

Read about it here and here.

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This year I got to spend some time with Anita Krajnc and the rest of Toronto Pig Save as I attended a series of vigils in Canada. I also got to cover Anita’s court case, where she was put on trial for feeding water to a pig dying of dehydration. People around the world were horrified that Anita had been charged for simply an act of kindness. The trial talked about a lot more than this one incident, and ended up putting animal agriculture as a whole on trial. The case will be continuing in March 2017. Working with Anita has been a great honour this year, and I look forward to doing a lot more in 2017 to show the world that compassion is not a crime.

Japan – The World is Watching You

Read about it here.

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At the start of this year I took part in the London Against Taiji Dolphin Massacre March. We marched through the streets of London to the Japanese Embassy, using our voices to stand against this barbaric tradition that happens every year in Taiji. Documentaries like Blackfish and The Cove have meant a huge fall in profit for companies such as Seaworld. It’s so important that people know that every time they buy a ticket to a marine park that uses animals for entertainment, or partake in swim with dolphin programmes, they are actively paying for this yearly dolphin slaughter. The workers seek out the ‘Flipper’-like dolphins that have become so popular, while the rest are trapped in the cove to be slaughtered the following morning, and sold as dolphin meat. Many people in Japan don’t even know this is happening. Please don’t be part of it. Boycott Seaworld, marine parks and all swim with dolphin programmes.

Fearman’s ‘Pork’ Show No Mercy

Read about it here.

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Not long after returning from Canada myself, I watched this heartbreaking event live, as it happened, outside Fearman’s ‘Pork’, where I had protested earlier this year. Although the events of that day were completely incomprehensible, the stories of the pigs who died will never be forgotten. The incident gained worldwide media coverage, and people began to question whether eating meat can ever really be humane. A special thanks to all the activists who were at Fearman’s that day, and later organised a candle-lit memorial for all those who suffered such cruelty, all because of human greed.

Vegfest London 2016

Read about it here and on The Vegfest Express.

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In the build up to this year’s Vegfest London, I interviewed some of the speakers appearing at the Vegan Activists Summit – including Kate Strong, Rebecca Fox and Marta Zaraska. I’m so pleased that Vegfest is just getting bigger and better every year. I thought the speakers this year were particularly inspirational, and it was great to listen to such heroes as David Smith MBE talk about how a plant-based diet has changed their lives.

Ink Activism

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This year I also got my first ever tattoos which have been great conversation starters, and have also enabled me to visit some of the best vegan tattoo studios! My first was the animal liberation symbol, which I had done at Fifth Dimension in London. My second was the word ‘compassion’ which I had done at James Spooner’s Monocle Tattoo studio in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, I do have the tattoo bug now and have heard of some other great vegan tattoo studios which I plan to check out in 2017!

Protesting with Emily from Bite Size Vegan

Read about it here.

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I attended an Essex Pig Save vigil with popular American YouTuber and blogger – Emily from Bite Size Vegan this summer. This was a very hard day as we said goodbye to truck-loads of pigs entering Cheale Meats to be slaughtered. But later on, I went to London to watch Emily’s speech, and my dedication and hope for animals was truly restored. Emily talked about the importance of bearing witness, and not turning away from what is happening to animals, but instead doing all we can to change it. I’m a huge fan of all the work Emily is doing.

Fiona Oakes – For The Animals

Read about it here.

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Also at the start of this year, I got to meet champion marathon runner and all round superhero for animals – Fiona Oakes, along with all the animals at Tower Hill Sanctuary. It was great to hear Fiona’s story and how she has managed to achieve so much for animals. Tower Hill looks after over 400 rescued animals, which is no easy task! She also uses her extreme marathon running (she has run a marathon on every continent, and the North Pole) to promote the vegan lifestyle… destroying the stereotypical view of vegans as ‘weak’.

Other mentionable animal activism achievements this year include attending the first East London Chicken Save vigil, meeting Renee and all the friendly folk at Rowdy Girl Sanctuary, Texas, and volunteering at Piebird Farm Sanctuary in Canada. Overall, I’m really pleased with what I have accomplished this year, the world is definitely beginning to wake up to the realities that so many animals are forced to endure at the hands of humans. The Save Movement has grown rapidly in 2016, there are now 24 groups in the UK alone! It seems that ignorance is no longer bliss. I am looking forward to achieving much more for animals in 2017.

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Essex Pig Save Vigil – Bearing Witness to Pigs – 7/11/16

Yesterday we had another vigil at Cheale Meats in Essex, to say goodbye to some beautiful pigs arriving for slaughter.

It’s always a surreal feeling, that the vigil is considered a success if we are able to see some trucks of pigs. Obviously we don’t want the trucks to be there at all, and in an ideal world they wouldn’t be, but while intelligent animals are still needlessly being killed for food, it is our aim to comfort as many as possible.

So yesterday we managed to see a few trucks, most of which had their shutters up so it was difficult to see the animals inside. But later on, we were able to get a closer look. The pigs were scared, cramped and almost looking to us for some kind of explanation. All we could do was comfort them in any way possible, and document their important journey.

The Save Movement now has over 20 groups in the UK that all have regular vigils, with new groups starting all the time. Slaughterhouses that have been hidden for so long are being exposed, and people are beginning to make the connection, and realise that they don’t want to be paying for these cruel practices. There is a great injustice going on every day, every hour, every minute. Most people would claim to be animal lovers, but this means loving all animals, not just those we share our homes with. I found the following words from Essex Pig Save, which I think beautifully sum up what The Save Movement is doing, so I will leave you with this.

Hide me in the shadows, kill me in the darkness,

and all will be forgotten…

But shine a light upon my death, and I will be everywhere,

and justice will be my name.

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Take Action!

Essex Pig Save

Toronto Pig Save

The Save Movement

Essex Pig Save & Animal Equality Outreach Event

On Sunday 28th August, Essex Pig Save and Animal Equality joined forces to show the people of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, the truth behind animal agriculture.

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Essex Pig Save have held a number of successful vigils over the past few months, I wrote about the first one outside Cheale Meats in Brentwood here. The aim of the group is to bear witness to pigs on their final journey to the slaughterhouse, and promote a vegan lifestyle so that in the future, innocent pigs will not have to endure such a cruel and unnecessary fate.

Animal Equality were on hand with virtual reality headsets, where people viewed 360 degree footage of the life of a pig at a factory farm. The reaction from the public who viewed the footage was very inspiring. People of all ages took on the challenge to open their minds by putting themselves in somebody else’s shoes.

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Engrossed in factory farm footage.
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The aftermath.

Essex Pig Save were handing out leaflets with more information, and many people seemed to be eager to find out more. I had some great conversations with people who were vegetarian, but hadn’t thought about the implications that the egg and dairy industry has for animals. Others hadn’t really thought about the treatment of animals in factory farms very much before, but were open to what we were doing and took some information away to consider.

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Watch the footage, get a free vegan cake…great deal!

Overall, it was a very successful day, and it was great to be able to talk to people about what Essex Pig Save are doing. Slaughterhouses are often hidden in secret, so it’s important that we shine a line and let people know what actually goes on.

The next Essex Pig Save vigil will be on the 14th September, with special guest Bite Size Vegan, who I interviewed prior to attending her first ever vigil with Toronto Pig Save here. Find out more about Bite Size Vegan’s UK travels here.

N.B.: The vigils are open to absolutely everyone, check out the Essex Pig Save Facebook Page to find out more about bearing witness to beautiful animals.